AUSTRALIAN towns were facing a banking crisis and the Derwent Valley Council should back the call for a post office bank, last month’s council annual general meeting heard. Local businessman Ray Williams campaigned on the post office bank proposal while seeking election to the Senate last year and he has continued to lobby on the matter despite not being elected.
He did not gain much traction after addressing a council workshop late last year, so he took the matter to the annual general meeting. There he proposed that the Derwent Valley Council write to the Federal Government supporting the creation of a public Australia Post Office Bank.
“Hundreds of Australian towns – due to branch closures by the big four banks – do not have proper banking facilities,” he told the meting. “Creation of a new public Australia Post Office Bank would provide full banking services and extra employment in country towns throughout Australia,” he said.
Mr Williams’ proposal was seconded by Wayne Shoobridge and it was agreed to by the majority of people at the meeting, with 19 voting in favour and none against. Cr Phillip Bingley abstained, saying he would like to vote on the matter at the next council meeting.
Mr Williams said there had been a huge reduction in bank branches around Australia in the last three decades. “I believe it is a banking crisis,” he said. “When I came here we had four major banks and a credit union and now we’ve got one bank … and whilst we’re told the Commonwealth Bank won’t close here, how would we be if we ended up with no bank?
“What has been proposed is that we create a public Australia Post Office Bank. This is a very important step forward because it would create fair-dinkum competition to the big four banks. The Australia Post network would fit beautifully because they’re represented in all these towns where there’s no major banks. It makes absolute sense.”
The full council will consider Mr Williams’ motion at this month’s meeting on Tuesday, January 31.