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Bank head bemoans inequity

Bank head bemoans inequity

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank managing director Mike Hirst has told investors Australia’s financial sector is an uneven playing field.

Speaking at the company’s Anual General Meeting in Bendigo this week, Mr Hirst welcomed the Federal Government’s financial services inquiry.

Mr Hirst said there was a misconception Australia’s financial sector isn’t competitive, when the real issue is that there’s an uneven playing field.

“I can assure you the market is very competitive, however size is a powerful ally in any endeavour,” he said.

“In our industry it provides larger players with funding and regulatory advantages that ultimately restrict consumer choice.”

Mr Hirst said he’d like to see the review create a framework to help the industry prioritise regulation.

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He said if this can be achieved, competition in the Australian banking sector will flourish.

“I think we punch well above our weight, and in the past few years that’s included having to fight with one hand tied behind our back, as regulatory intervention has often favoured larger industry participants,” he said.

“It should be obvious that the impost of regulation is more acute the smaller an institution is, simply because there is a certain fixed cost of regulation that is diluted depending on how many transactions it is spread across – it’s just unit costing after all.

“It’s vital the inquiry turns its collective mind to the sheer weight of regulation that’s being driven through the industry and the cost of that to business and consumers.

“Perhaps an outcome of the review could be a queue of mandated industry-wide change, which provides a hierarchy of priorities for both government and industry to work towards.”.

Chairman Robert Johanson said the emergence of new technologies also has the potential to challenge the industry.

“The biggest competitive threats to banks now come from non-banks in areas like payments systems where companies, unrestrained by regulatory burdens and compliance, can pick lucrative niches to exploit,” he said.

“To retain our unique position in the marketplace, we must continually adapt, grow and improve. That’s a real focus for our bank.”

Shareholders at the AGM voted to elect new director Rob Hubbard and re-elect Mr Johanson, Jim Hazel and David Matthews.

They passed the Remuneration Report and approved the managing director’s equity grants.

 BENDIGO’S residential Strategy will be reviewed because of greater than expected growth.

The State Government has announced a grant of $50,000 to carry out the review.

The review is needed because, according to the State Government, 40 per cent of the forecast growth between 2006 and 2031 had already been realised.

Regional Development Parliamentary Secretary Damian Drum made the announcement this morning.

Mr Drum said the Bendigo Residential Strategy Review would deliver greater community and investor certainty, helping the region grow.

“The Bendigo Residential Development Strategy was adopted in 2004 and is currently being audited because of the faster than anticipated growth that has occurred in Bendigo in recent years,” he said.

“Strong residential growth has many flow-on economic benefits and having a clear framework for future development will position Greater Bendigo City Council to undertake more detailed, place-based planning in the future.”

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said about 40 per cent of the forecast growth between 2006 and 2031 had already been realised.

The Residential Strategy impacts directly on where and how property developments use “infill” parcels of land, range of housing styles and also on housing affordability.

“This project will review the strategy, assess current and estimated land supply and demand and consider various legislative and policy changes,” Mr Ryan said,

“It will also consider the latest demographic data and establish a new strategic framework to guide the long-term residential growth of Greater Bendigo.

“The project will result in a revised residential strategy that will give developers, the community and service providers greater surety and confidence about where land can be developed for residential purposes, and that sufficient land is available to accommodate the City of Greater Bendigo’s future growth.”

Mr Ryan said a contemporary strategic planning framework was essential to the economic development of a large regional centre like Bendigo.

“Clearly identifying future growth options and supporting infrastructure needs will enable the Greater Bendigo City Council and other infrastructure providers to plan their capital works programs well in advance,” he said.

“Identifying long-term growth areas will enable the council and other service authorities to start planning for the delivery of services, thereby minimising the lag time between when residential development occurs and when the services need to be in place.” Comments

Source: Bendigo Weekly

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