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Action on remote community ATM fees falls short

The Australian Greens say overdue action on ATM fees in remote communities is welcome but does not go far enough to stop independent operators from overcharging for transactions.

“While today’s announcement is a welcome one, there are independent operators who are not yet party to the lifting of ATM fees in remote communities,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today.

“Since the 2009 banking deregulations that made ATM fee collection a revenue stream for both banks and non-bank providers, there has been a proliferation of private ATM operators in remote communities, and the impact of high fees on the people relying on these services has been of serious concern to Greens.

“The ATM Taskforce Report on Indigenous ATM Issues put the number of ATMs in remote communities as high as 600.
“Of these 600, 80% are independently owned and 20% owned by banks. Doing the maths on today’s announcement that 76 ATMs will now be fee-free, it’s clear that there is still a long way to go.
“ATM services are important to people in remote communities who have almost no choice of provider, lack access to alternatives and are likely to make many small transactions.

“Providing fee-free services in these areas is an important and necessary step to better enable people to control their accounts and monitor their balances.
“I will be closely examining the list of locations when it is released to see which communities will continue to be effected,” Senator Siewert concluded.

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