Government must listen to remittance industry: Bandt

Greens Deputy Leader and finance spokesperson Adam Bandt MP has welcomed reports that the government is finally listening to the remittance industry and convening its agencies to address the looming threat to thousands’ of Australians ability to transfer money to families overseas.

Westpac, the last Australian bank to providing backing to the remittance industry, is due to close off its support to the industry on November 24, citing increased risk from international regulation of terrorism financing. This will leave the industry, which services Australian remittances to 157 countries, adrift.

“The Greens have been pursuing the government and banks on this issue for months and we are glad that the government is at last starting to listen. But time is short. The government must step in now or risk harming thousands of Australians and their families who rely on this money,” said Mr Bandt.

“Legitimate security concerns must be addressed but the big banks’ desire to avoid risk could create a bigger problem, as unless there’s a government-supported ‘safe corridor’, the remittance system will be driven underground and new routes to finance terrorism potentially opened.”

The Greens will continue to pursue the government in Senate Estimates tomorrow.