ASIC has welcomed moves by the Australian banking sector and two major independent ATM providers to provide free ATM transactions at 76 ATMs in remote Indigenous communities.
The communities are located in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
The changes are expected to start in late 2012.
‘We welcome this move by the banks and ATM providers. This is a responsible and sensible step that will benefit Indigenous consumers’, ASIC Commissioner, Mr Peter Kell, said.
‘ASIC has long been concerned about the difficulties Indigenous consumers face getting reasonable access to banking services from their homes in rural and remote areas.
‘This includes the disproportionate impact of ATM fees on Indigenous consumers where lack of services and choice means that, unlike Indigenous Australians in cities, many have no regular access to their bank’s ATM, making fees for withdrawals or balance checking unavoidable’, Mr Kell added.
ASIC’s Indigenous Outreach Program participated in a Treasury and Reserve Bank of Australia taskforce, set up in response to the release of Financial Counselling Australia’s report ATM Fees in Indigenous Communities. The taskforce observed first hand the limited services banking facilities available to Indigenous consumers in rural and remote Indigenous communities and investigated the difficulties they faced in conducting basic transactions.
Details of the participating institutions are available in a joint media release issued by the Hon Wayne Swan MP, Treasurer, and the Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Indigenous Affairs.