LABOR LEADING ON REMITTANCES
This week, many Australians will be flying in and out of the country carrying suitcases of cash.
It may sound like a scene from a spy film, but the reason for it has more to do with banks than Bond. In short, excessive and confusing fees are making it too pricey to transfer money.
In Australia, many people work long hours to send money back to family overseas. According to the World Bank, remittances to developing countries are worth half a trillion dollars annually – twice the value of foreign aid.
These people deserve a safe and secure way for people to send money which doesn’t involve large portions being eaten up by fees from financial institutions.
Today, we heard concerns from members of Melbourne’s Chinese community, including representatives from:
- Whitehorse Chinese Friendship Association
- National Australian Chinese Women Association
- Yarra Chinese Friendship Association
- Fitzroy Chinese Association
- United Chinese Commerce Association of Australia
- Australia-China Veterans Club
- Australia Chinese Angling Association
- Australia China Entrepreneurs Communication Association
- XinJinShen Chinese Library
These people all want a simpler and fairer system for sending money to loved ones – one which ends unreasonable profit gouging.
Labor is exploring whether institutions should be required to offer full fee disclosure, stating a single fee per transaction, denominated in Australian dollars. This would include both the flat fee and the exchange rate spread (relative to a standard benchmark). It would be similar to the comparison rates we already enjoy when shopping for car loans, mortgages and credit cards.
There are good reasons for security controls on overseas transfers, but excessive and confusing fees are inexcusable.
It‘s time to make remittances fairer, cheaper and simpler.
WEDNESDAY, 22 NOVEMBER 2017