Members statement – Centralised Purchasing Policy

The Andrews Labor Government’s state purchasing contract is forgetting about local communities like Port Fairy and Heywood who will be severely impacted by the centralised banking approach.

With the big four banks closing branches in towns across my electorate, people have been turning to local community banks which are what their title suggests – for the community, donating profits back to local groups and organisations.

Rather than supporting this the State Government is now moving all it’s accounts away from these organisations and are forcing all government accounts to be directed through Westpac.

This means in Port Fairy, Moyne Health Services and the local school’s accounts will be removed form the local community bank and taken to Westpac.

The same will happen in Heywood and mean that these two community banks will lose some of their biggest customers.

The Port Fairy community bank has been operating for seven years and in that time has made more than $500,000 worth of contributions to local groups like the local show, the surf club, historical society, schools, church groups – the list goes on.

The Heywood Branch has made a similar level of donations – with one of the major beneficiaries being the town’s health service.

By comparison, the ANZ has recently closed its branch, as have the NAB and Commonwealth Banks. It’s the same in Heywood where the community bank is the sole survivor.

The Government’s purchasing contract once again shows the city centric, centralised nature of how Labor operates. Instead of supporting local organisations that are part of the community and gives back to local groups and organisations, the Government is rewarding the big four, who have done nothing but abandon rural and regional towns across the state.

This policy needs to be reviewed so small community banks that give back to the communities they serve aren’t disadvantaged and I call on the treasurer to do so with a level of urgency.

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