by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Connexus : Issue 43
Issues voiced in long election lead-up It's always hard to get a hearing in the clamour of federal election campaigns, so the early announcement of the upcoming poll has been a bonus for lobbying. BY LUKE LAWLER The level of political noise has been high all year and continues to increase in the countdown to the election. The success of the Balance Banking campaign has given the Customer Owned Banking Association a sound platform to rise above the noise and ensure key decision-makers hear our voice. The association is working to build relationships with current and potential new MPs, refresh existing relationships with ministers and shadow ministers and cultivate a network of supporters in the next government, irrespective of which party is in power. We have been encouraging our members to contact local MPs and candidates using an advocacy agenda that objectifes: • Confdent and informed retail banking consumers. • A regulatory framework that promotes competition and diversity in banking. • Competitive neutrality between listed banks and customer-owned banking organisations. • Fairer taxation of deposits. Our message is that consumers will beneft if the big banks are forced to be transparent and accountable with multi- branding strategies and a clear line is drawn between customer-owned banking organisations and 'shadow banks', such as debenture issuers. An independent, well-resourced inquiry is needed to assess the balance between stability and competition in the regulatory framework, including issues such as the unfair cost-of-funds advantage obtained by systemically important banks. What is usually the government's big set-piece political event of the year, the federal budget, was overshadowed this year by the opposition leader's budget reply. With widespread recognition that many of the government's budget measures might not survive a change of government, attention shifted to the coalition's promises. With opinion polls pointing to a decisive coalition victory, opposition leader Tony Abbott declared that, while many of the gover nment's budget cuts were "objectionable", there was a "budget emergency" and the coalition might implement all of Labor's cuts but few of Labor's spending measures. One measure announced by the government but not immediately supported by the coalition was a proposal for a new deposit product for banking organisations designed to help pensioners to move into age-appropriate housing. There would be a means test exemption for age pension recipients who are downsizing from their family home. The family home must have been owned for at least 25 years, with at least 80 per cent of proceeds from the sale (up to $200,000) to be deposited in a special account by the banking organisation. These funds (plus earned interest) would be exempt from pension means testing for up to 10 years provided there are no withdrawals during the life of the account. The exemption would also be accessible to people assessed as home owners who move into a retirement village or granny fat. It would not be available to people moving into residential aged care. The pilot would commence on 1 July 2014, and be closed to new customers from 1 July 2017. The government says about 30,000 pensioners could beneft from the exemption throughout the trial period. Luke Lawler is the Customer Owned Banking Association senior manager, public a airs. NEWS 12 Connexus