Westpac shuts its doors on the Beaudesert community

CONCERNED: Federal MP Scott Buchholz, Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause and Mayor Greg Christensen have had their say as Westpac prepares to shut its doors.
CONCERNED: Federal MP Scott Buchholz, Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause and Mayor Greg Christensen have had their say as Westpac prepares to shut its doors.

The Scenic Rim's politicians have voiced their concerns following the decision by Westpac to shut its Beaudesert branch.

Expressing his disappointment, federal MP Scott Buchholz said he understood the closure would inconvenience individuals and businesses that relied on face-to-face banking services.

“It is always shattering when a bank chooses to turn its back on a community,” he said.

“It simply seems incomprehensible when you hear the annual profits of the banks are in excess of $5 billion, yet they still pursue even greater profits at the expense of our local community.”

Mr Buchholz said there were clear winners and losers from the decision taken by Westpac.

“Good luck if you are a bank shareholder or your super fund invests in the banks, but bad luck if you are a customer and rely on the Westpac Bank, be it for your pension, mortgage payments or business transactions,” he said.

“I know it is difficult to migrate to another bank, but as a show of defiance, I encourage locals to support a bank which supports our community.”

Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause said the closure of Westpac Beaudesert would have a significant impact on local businesses and community members.

“From the New South Wales border to the next nearest Westpac branch is a distance of 115km," he said.

“Beaudesert has already suffered the loss of two major banks with BOQ and ANZ shutting their doors.

“If Westpac can turn its back on a community the size of Beaudesert then what town, or business, will be next?

“Our small businesses, our elderly people who need to talk to somebody at a bank – they are the big losers here and I know from speaking to local shopkeepers and café owners that they are absolutely livid – especially those that in everyday business utilise banks for depositing the day’s cash takings.”

Echoing the thoughts of the region's MPs, mayor Greg Christensen said it was disappointing and concerning that this was the third bank closure in Beaudesert in recent times after ANZ and The Bank of Queensland closed last year.

"On each occasion, we did try to discuss the issues with the relevant banks and to try to plead on behalf of our community to maintain this service," he said.

"However, like a number of industries, banking is going through a significant transition as, I am told, more and more customers are relying on electronic banking services.

"Unfortunately, the side effect of this is a decrease in the use of face-to-face banking services.

"Council understands the difficulties caused to individuals and businesses across our region as a result of these branch closures, sometimes in the form of significant costs to transfer to a new bank.

"I am encouraged that there are glowing examples within our region of a different model of banking that is thriving in the form of community banks and, while we will be having a significant conversation with Westpac about their decision, we will also be contacting other providers to explore opportunities for new entrants with a different model of engagement to support the community."

Mr Buchholz and Mr Krause said in light of the shocking behaviour exposed by the Royal Commission into the banking sector they encouraged representatives of Westpac to meet with and listen to community members and businesses, and to reconsider the closure of its Beaudesert branch.