Shire of Waroona Condemns National Australia Bank's Decision to Close Waroona Branch

Published on Wednesday, 23 August 2023 at 1:25:50 PM

The Shire of Waroona has expressed deep disappointment and concern over this week’s announcement by National Australia Bank (NAB) to close its Waroona branch and will seek community support to appeal the decision.


At its meeting on 22 August, Council recognised the importance of having an operating bank branch open in the town of Waroona, and directed Chief Executive Officer Mark Goodlet to reconsider its investments in NAB, as well as rallying community and business support for considering their own banking alternatives.


As recently reported in the Australian Financial Review, NAB's decision to close branches has triggered a Senate inquiry into the impacts of such closures on communities across the country. The Shire of Waroona has now become the most recent casualty, with NAB deciding to withdraw its Waroona branch and ATM.


Expressing his concern, Shire President Mike Walmsley lamented the lack of consultation with the Shire and the broader community and said the decision carried profound implications for our residents, businesses, and community vitality.


“The NAB is the only bank here and its closure will disproportionately affect our Shire’s aging population. These residents rely on the presence of a physical branch and personal interactions with bank tellers to manage their financial affairs securely,” Cr Walmsley said.


2021 Bureau of Statistics Census data shows the Shire of Waroona contains higher percentages of unemployed individuals, over-65 residents, lower median house incomes, and a greater number of families earning less than $650 per week compared to the Western Australian average.


Compounding the situation is a lack of accessible alternatives. The nearest NAB branch in Mandurah is a 35-minute drive and public transportation is not offered between Waroona and Mandurah. Additionally, the Waroona Post Office will now shoulder the burden of processing NAB banking transactions, raising concerns about its capacity to meet the community's needs.


Cr Walmsley said that many residents were NAB customers and removing the NAB ATM, in addition to the branch closure, will add to the financial burden of residents who will now face charges to withdraw money from alternative sources.


In response to news of the closure, the Shire implored NAB to reconsider the decision, taking into account the far-reaching consequences for residents, businesses, and the community as a whole.


“Our residents deserve better. We call on NAB to stand by its commitment to supporting local communities and to uphold its responsibilities to the people of Waroona,” Cr Walmsley said.


“This is not a decision that has been made lightly, however, we hope that through collective action, we can influence positive change and safeguard essential services that contribute to the well-being of our community.” Cr Walmsley said.

Back to All News