Banks can help customers impacted by bushfires
30 October 2020
The final report of the Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements is a critical step towards improving the way Australia responds to catastrophic weather events.
The Australian Banking Association has welcomed its recommendations and vowed to continue working with governments on their implementation.
“Banks play a vital role in helping Australians survive and recover from bushfires and other disasters”, said ABA CEO Anna Bligh.
“When disaster strikes, Australians need fast access to cash and support to help them survive. This report makes several recommendations to make that happen”, she said.
The ABA welcomes Recommendations 9.4 and 9.5 which will lead to the identification of critical infrastructure and the relevant risks to those sectors during emergencies.
“Banking services should be recognised nationally as critical infrastructure and included in planning and preparation efforts”, Ms Bligh said.
“Improving coordination between critical infrastructure providers and governments is key to ensuring we are better prepared next time”.
“When disaster strikes, Australians need fast access to cash and support to help them survive. This report makes several recommendations to make that happen”ABA CEO Anna Bligh
The banking industry has already been engaging with state and territory governments to improve consistency of emergency payments and financial assistance – issues identified in Recommendations 22.1 – 22.4.
Access to financial counsellors is also a key element of community resilience and recovery and deserves focus under the remit of Recommendation 22.5.
The ABA supports the development of an enduring funding model made up of a fixed level of Government funding and levies on the financial sector and non-financial sector participants that reflect the drivers of financial hardship.
This will ensure a sustainable funding base so people suffering terrible hardship can access critical advice and support when they need it.
Banks have a key role to play in the management of physical and transition risks associated with climate change. Each ABA member is undertaking specific actions tailored to the individual characteristics of their bank to address climate change. The banking industry in Australia supports the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
The ABA commends the work of Natural Disaster Royal Commissioners Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC, the Honourable Dr Annabelle Bennett AC SC and Professor Andrew Macintosh.
National Bushfire Recovery Agency Coordinator Andrew Colvin has also played a critical role in helping Australians recover from last summer’s bushfires.
“A number of our banks actually have maternity leave lending products that are specific to people on parental leave, paid and unpaid, to help them through, what as I said, can be a difficult time.”
The number of micro businesses grew 10% to 1.55 million in the year to June 2022. During the same period, the number of small businesses grew 3% to 955,861 after an extraordinary period of growth during the 2021 financial year, jumping 15% to 931,791.
The ABA recently visited regional Victoria to see the impact of the recent floods first-hand. The tour of Rochester and Echuca was set up to share the support available by banks and encourage customers affected to contact their bank.The ABA also gathered feedback from impacted bank customers and the local community to hear what further… Read more »