NSW nixes motion to ban school banking

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on February 18, 2021
NSW nixes motion to ban school banking

Late last night, the NSW Legislative Council debated a motion calling on the State Government to ban school banking, and it was voted down 35-6.

The news comes after Victoria banned school banking late last year (effective term one this year), while the ACT moved to ban it last week, effective July.

Hansard reveals the motion was put forth by Greens MP Abigail Boyd, citing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's (ASIC) report last year that found "[school banking] providers were unable to demonstrate that these programs in and of themselves improve savings behaviour".

"It is private banks competing for a share of the highly valuable first‑saver account market, to be the bank in which children set up their first account," Ms Boyd said.

"These are private banks that understand well that over one-third of people are still with the bank they had their first account with.

"School banking programs like [Commonwealth Bank's] Dollarmites are not altruistic or educational."

The motion was voted down with a majority of 29, and one of the dissenting votes was Deputy Opposition Leader Penny Sharpe.

"Labor's position on this is far less hot under the collar. Our view is that serious matters were raised in the ASIC report," Ms Sharpe said.

"I listened carefully to the Government's response, which was that the Department of Education is looking at those matters and is engaging in consultation about them. Labor believes that is the appropriate way to deal with it."

Liberal MP Taylor Martin re-affirmed the Government's position on the issue.

"New South Wales school principals, in consultation with their school communities, are empowered to make decisions and select programs to run in their schools, based on student need and community context," Mr Martin said.

"Individual schools can choose to participate in school banking programs, and they are bound by the department's policy and guidelines on how schools manage relationships with businesses."

Read: Why isn't financial literacy its own subject in schools?

First a state-owned search engine, now a state-owned bank

Among the recommendations put forth last night by Ms Boyd was that NSW reinstate a state-owned bank.

"As we look back over the past 30 years, it is clear that it was a mistake to sell off the Commonwealth Bank of Australia," the MP said.

"The Greens will be pushing for a New South Wales public bank to be established sooner rather than later."

Earlier in February, federal Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young called for the Government to instate a publicly-owned search engine.

"Google's threat to shut down their search services if they don't get the laws they want shows that the corporate giant has far too much power - not just over the market but across the community," Ms Hanson-Young said.

Last year, the United Kingdom's competition regulator modelled that it would cost anywhere from US $10 billion to $30 billion to replicate Google's search engine.

Photo by 'Rambo2100' on Flickr

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Harrison is Savings.com.au's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison strives to deliver and edit news and guides that are engaging, thought-provoking, and simple to read.

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