Briefing paper


This paper provides an overview of the ways in which people in regional or remote communities interact with financial service entities.

This paper shows that

(a) As at 30 June 2017, around 6.9 million people, or around 28% of Australia’s population of around 24.6 million, lived in regional or remote areas

(b) Around 8 million people, or around one-third of Australia’s population of around 24.6 million, live outside a capital city

(c) Access to a bank branch, other face-to-face service or ATM decreases as remoteness increases

(d) Because of the greater distances involved to access products and services, those in regional and remote areas may access financial services in different ways to those in metropolitan areas

(e) Social, cultural and economic factors can result in members of the Australian population, including those in regional and remote areas, suffering from a lack of access to banking and financial services, or financial exclusion

(f) People residing in capital cities were more likely to be severely or fully financially excluded, whereas people residing in country areas were more likely to be marginally excluded

(g) Three examples of ways in which those in regional and remote areas may suffer from financial exclusion are bank branch closures, relatively high ATM fees and relatively less access to the internet and other digital services

(h) As a result of financial exclusion, individuals may become more vulnerable to financial stress and can fall into a spiral of debt, hardship and poverty.

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