THE big banks have agreed to remove fees for non-customers withdrawing cash from their ATMs in flood-affected areas during the initial disaster recovery phase.
Treasurer Wayne Swan and assistant treasurer Bill Shorten have worked with the big four banks, the Bank of Queensland, Suncorp and the Bendigo Bank who have all agreed to a moratorium on foreign ATM fees in Queensland's flood declared postcodes as the state begins to recover from the devastating floods.
The Federal Government is also speaking to a number of credit unions and building societies.
"We have been working closely with the banking sector, the Australia Bankers Association and credit unions and building societies to ensure people who have lost their homes and others affected by the floods won't have to worry about paying up to $2 to access their money if they cannot make it to their own bank's facilities at this difficult time," says Swan.
The measures come on top of discussions already held between the Assistant Treasurer and the banking sector earlier this week, which recognised the emotional and financial pressures on so many citizens and the sustained recovery and rebuilding phase that will follow the emergency relief period.
Shorten says the sector is working with financial counselling and consumer credit advocates to ensure that the hardship measures they are putting in place are consistent and adequate now and in the long term.
"I am sure this moratorium on ATM fees, while relatively small in the scheme of the floods, will be very welcome to those Queenslanders will feel the impact of the disaster for some time. We will continue to talk to the banks about how financial pressures can be eased as the rebuilding process begins across communities," he says.
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