Advocacy in action: How Business Chamber Queensland policy and advocacy influenced outcomes

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Business Chamber Queensland's response to the Australian Government’s (Treasury) Regional Banking Taskforce Issues Paper 

Business Chamber Queensland often makes submissions to the Queensland Government on policy issues impacting businesses. In this example, we look at the policy and advocacy process and how Business Chamber Queensland's response to the Australian Government’s (Treasury) Regional Banking Taskforce Issues Paper influenced outcomes for Queensland business.  

The policy and advocacy process 

Agenda setting: An issue or problem impacting Queensland businesses is identified  

Research: Information and data is collected to describe the problem. Often this is Business Chamber Queensland Pulse Survey data, reflecting members’ and Queensland businesses’ direct insight. 

Informing this submission, Business Chamber Queensland members, regional stakeholder managers and regional chambers shared with us several case studies of business challenges and needs concerning regional banking. 

Position formed: What the problem means for Queensland businesses is set out.  

Recommendation: A preferred policy solution to the problem is identified. 

Submission: A submission is made to the government. 

Advocacy: The submission is taken to government stakeholders and the media for discussion and outcomes.  


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Example: Australian Government’s (Treasury) Regional Banking Taskforce Issues Paper

We acknowledge the important role banks play in regional communities for individuals, business owners, and community organisations, and submitted a response to the Regional Banking Taskforce Issues Paper to represent the experiences and needs of Queensland’s regional business community.  

Just like metropolitan-based businesses, regional small businesses have a variety of banking needs. Accessibility however can be a considerable constraint. 

Here’s what Business Chamber Queensland's submission recommended, and how it influenced recommendations from the taskforce.  


Business Chamber Queensland Recommendations

Taskforce Recommendations

Our Recommendation:

  • In assessing the impacts of bank branch closures, the Taskforce should consider the role bank branches play in regional communities beyond providing financial services, and the void they can leave as a source of sponsorship and support.
Recommendation 1: Review and strengthen the ABA’s Branch Closure Protocol.
The ABA should review and strengthen its Branch Closure Protocol and introduce an ABA Customer Care Standard by mid-2023, to improve communication and support when regional branches close or their hours are being permanently and materially reduced.
 Our Recommendations:
  • The potential impacts on regional liveability and mental health for individual experiencing financial distress must be considered when considering alternative service solutions to regional bank branches.
  • The reasonableness, long-term viability and resiliency of alternative banking solutions need to be considered in the context of the user and regional vulnerabilities.
  • Broader consultation across regional Australia to identify and monitor regional banking issues and needs.
 Recommendation 2: Implement branch closure impact assessments
Banks should establish a process for conducting and publishing regional branch closure impact assessments by mid-2023. Assessments should provide clear reasons for the closure and the engagement that will occur with customers, local government and other stakeholders following the announcement of the closure.

What we said:

Banks should, to the best of their ability, maintain a regional service focus. This could be achieved through initiatives such as regional banking hotlines, outreach officers, education seminars, and satellite facilities in post offices, community centres or business hubs to maintain face-to-face customer service capabilities

Recommendation 3: Promote and support Bank@Post services

Australia Post and participating banks should collaborate to promote Bank@Post services more widely and help their customers utilise the banking services available to them. This should include working together to formalise and expand programs to support transition to Bank@Post when branches close

Our Recommendation:

  • In identifying alternatives to bank branch models, ensure all constraints and unique banking needs of regional communities and businesses are considered within a local context.
“Access to cash is an issue for some regional Queensland businesses, with ATMs and Bank@Post having limitations (as discussed above), resulting in some business owners having to plan an entire day to organise their cash floats. Greater pressure is also being put on regional small businesses to provide change for larger notes, which is difficult when their access to cash is more limited. Instances where internet infrastructure is down also presents an issue for small businesses.”

Recommendation 4: Maintain access to cash

Australia Post should consider how the cash float and deposit needs of small businesses and community group customers can be met.
Australia Post and Bank@Post partners should work towards standardising deposit and withdrawal limits to enable easier promotion to customers and communities. The major banks should commit to continue to provide (and expand where possible given competition restrictions) access to fee-free ATMs in remote Indigenous areas.

Our Recommendation:

  • The reasonableness, long-term viability and resiliency of alternative banking solutions need to be considered in the context of the user and regional vulnerabilities.
“A key vulnerability of regional communities is poor digital connectivity. A key priority for Business Chamber Queensland is in advocating across all levels of government for the advancement of digital infrastructure in regional Queensland to keep businesses connected, including the need for high-speed internet.”
 Recommendation 6: Continue to support and improve digital connectivity and literacy in regional areas.
The Australian Government to invest in telecommunication services through its Better Connectivity for Rural and Regional Australia Plan, which will provide significant improvement in regional connectivity. The Government to encourage co-investment by industry and States and Territories to maximise outcomes. Banks should continue to provide digital literacy support for people experiencing vulnerability and coordinate with the Government on digital education programs, such as the Government’s ‘Be Connected’ program for improving digital literacy for older Australians.



Read Business Chamber Queensland's policy submission here

Read the Regional Banking Taskforce final report here.

To contribute your business insight to Business Chamber Queensland policy and advocacy, subscribe to stay up to date on invitations to compete Pulse and other surveys here 


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Acknowledgement of Country

Business Chamber Queensland respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands from across Queensland and the Torres Strait. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin (Brisbane), the lands where our office is located and the place we meet, work and learn. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.