Wednesday, 29 July 2020

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has taken to the floor of State Parliament to demand the National Australian Bank (NAB) re-open its Uralla branch, which was closed months ago due to COVID-19.

Yesterday Mr Marshall gave formal notice of a motion to be debated in the Legislative Assembly calling on NAB to stop using the pandemic as a scape-goat to ‘quietly’ close yet another rural branch.

“Like most businesses, NAB did have to change its operations when coronavirus flared up earlier this year, however now the economy has re-opened the bank must give an indication to its customers and the community when it plans to get back to work in Uralla,” Mr Marshall said.

“I have fears, just like in 2018 when NAB slammed the door on its branch at Bingara in the middle of a drought, the bank is using the pandemic to withdraw from the vibrant and successful small town.

“NAB is crucial to the development of the local economy. Business operators should not have to find the time each day to travel to Armidale to deposit takings our make withdrawals, when they have a functional branch on their main street.

“Of course we know a lot of people do online banking, but Uralla has a large population of older people or farmers, who still bank the traditional way, going in face-to-face, making a deposit or a withdrawal.”

Mr Marshall said both he and Uralla Shire Council had written to NAB management, requesting they immediately spell out what future they see for the Uralla branch, but so far there had been no response.

“Uralla’s businesses are finally picking themselves off the ground after taking a hammering in the drought and the last they now need is to be kicked back down by a bank which is supposed to be looking after its customers,” he said.

“My stance has always been clear when it comes to the big four banks maintaining a presence in regional communities; if you have paying local customers, you should offer local services.

“NAB’s motto is ‘More than Money’ – now is the time for company to put those words into action and step-up, open its doors and continue supporting those who have stood by them for years in Uralla.”

Mr Marshall’s motion is below:

That This House:
1. Recognises the poor conduct of the National Australia Bank which during Covid-19 shut face-to-face service delivery at its Uralla branch and has failed to communicate with Uralla Shire Council and the community about plans to re-open;
2. Notes the crucial importance of the NAB branch to the local economy in Uralla and its customers who travel from rural properties and those that cannot bank online or on mobile phones.
3. Calls on the National Australia Bank to re-open and resume operating its Uralla branch and not hide behind the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to close yet another rural branch.

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