CQ community shares their concerns at Labor's Banking Forum
WITH the scandalous behaviour of the big four banks continuing to be revealed by the Royal Commission, CQ locals have vented their frustrations at a Rockhampton community forum.
An estimated 30 people visited the forum held at the Giddy Goat to express their concerns regarding the banking system and and to hear an alternative approach presented by Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh - who was visiting the region in support of Labor candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson and Flynn's Zac Beers.
Forum host Mr Robertson said Labor wanted to hear from the people of Rockhampton and the broader Capricornia with what problems they were having with the banks and also to discuss the potential outcomes and ramifications of the findings of the Royal Commission.
"There was a lot of curiosity and there was a few complaints around what had happened [at the commission],” Mr Robertson said.
"People were also complaining about the inability to obtain finance to buy a home because the banks are being postcode religious where they just see a postcode (in outer-lying areas of Capricornia) and say you need this large amount [of deposit].
"Maybe we need to find out what the problem is with banking systems have with providing finance to these people.”
Mr Robertson said a future Labor government would act decisively to implement the recommendations from the investigation to create "a better and fairer banking system”.
"Without us, there would be no banking Royal Commission, we pushed hard for that, we knew there were problems but Malcolm Turnbull's government was not interested,” Mr Robertson said.
He said now that the Royal Commission, which had been opposed by Capricornia MP Michelle Landry was going ahead, he called on her to implement the findings and make sure the Government "didn't just sit on them”.
"We want a fairer and safer banking system, not a system that rewards absolute deplorable behaviour,” he said.
"From charging dead people for financial advice to dodgy dealings around children's bank accounts, these concerning experiences show how wrong the Liberals and Nationals were to block the Royal Commission for so long, and why the big banks don't deserve a $17 billion tax cut.”
Ms Landry responded to to Mr Robertson's comments saying our banking sector is of vital importance to our economy and what was being unearthed by the Royal Commission is just shocking.
"These shocking revelations reinforce just how important it was we as a National Party made the Commission happen,” she said.
"Even before the Royal Commission was enacted, we as a government sharpened the teeth of APRA and ASIC; the agencies responsible for keeping bankers in line.
"It certainly is promising to see local Labor endorsing the Government's commitment to cracking down on crooked bankers.”
Ms Landry said she has heard from and made representations for a number of Central Queenslanders who's banking experiences had been sub-par.
"I will continue to do so and thanks to the Government's delivery of a Royal Commission, opportunities for these people to be more appropriately heard is far greater,” she said.
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While the forum concentrated on the Royal Commission into the banks, Mr Robertson said they also had positive discussions around other various topics including superannuation, industrial relations, wage growth, penalty rates, casualisation, inequality, and a desire for greater community input into the decision making processes and policy designed by the Federal Government.
He said Mr Leigh's visit was part of his efforts to regularly bring a different shadow minister to CQ in an effort to familiarise themselves with the key issues for the region as well as spread their message of how an alternative Labor government would handle things differently.
"Depending on their schedules I'm trying to get as many of them up as I can, it gives the people of Capricornia a real look at an alternative government,” Mr Robertson said.
"I have been speaking with the Federal Labor leadership about these problems impacting Central Queensland, but it's great that Andrew could head out and hear it direct from Rocky residents.”
Ms Landry was contacted for comment on this story and will be added when it comes to hand.