Friday, March 1, 2024

Cloncurry unites to fight bank closure

The community and council of the rural Queensland shire of Cloncurry have united to fight the closure of the town’s Westpac bank branch.

Cloncurry Shire Council Mayor, Greg Campbell, appeared on live TV this morning to push the Council’s case following the recent notification by Westpac that the 3,700-strong community’s branch would close.

“Theres a number of factors that’ll impact our community – our elderly, our indigenous, our community groups who all rely on that face-to-face contact, they’re not up to internet banking,” Mayor Campbell told Channel 9’s Today show.

“But there’s also the message it sends. When our area is thriving, what should be a pillar of our community is walking away. It’s not a good look.”

Mayor Campbell says the council was only notified of the closure around a week ago in a brief “cut and paste” email.

“No personal contact, no phone call from our bank’s relationship manager, even some major customers just found out by word of mouth,” he says.

“The sign on the wall over my shoulder says ‘connect with us’ but [Westpac] do anything but.”

Cloncurry’s Westpac branch.

The Council has launched a petition protesting against the bank’s closure and has so far received more than 400 signatures.

The petition states: “Westpac employees who have recently relocated to Cloncurry are now left wanting answers, and jobs, following the shock announcement from Westpac, which reported a bottom-line net profit of $5.7 billion in November 2022.”

“Cloncurry is a community that has worked together to drive economic growth through embracing innovation and overcoming obstacles to support continued investment in our local economy.

“For a dynamic region that’s growing in strength with massive expansion and investment from international mining companies and others, it is a slap in the face when a major finance company turns its back – yet expects us to stay on as customers!”

Since 2020, Cloncurry’s population has grown by 4.81%, while population growth in regional Queensland was less than 1%. The population growth since 2016 has been estimated at 18.5%. 

“We’re not going to walk away. We’re going to show them that we’re more important than that and our town deserves better,” the Mayor said.

He said it was unacceptable that thousands of people across north-western Queensland will now need to drive hundreds of kilometres to access Westpac face-to-face banking.

To sign the Council’s petition, visit this link.

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