Interest rate rises hurt

AS THE country's leading banks remained in the public glare yesterday and faced up to the prospect of stricter regulation, one Fraser Coast councillor was looking beyond Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth and ANZ.

“The big picture must be considered when interest rate rises are enforced,” Gerard O'Connell said.

Mr O'Connell is much more critical of the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) decision to raise the cash rate by 25 basis points in the first place.

“This is not about bashing up banks. The Reserve Bank is supposedly independent. They make great announcements that have a very different impact in the regions than in the capital cities.”

The first rate hike since May took the interest rate to 4.75 per cent.

Some of the country's banks have suffered the wrath of customers after pushing their individual rates higher than the RBA's quarter of a per cent, but Mr O'Connell's focus remained on the RBA.

He has called for community groups and regional stakeholders to make known to the RBA the effect of a rate rise on the Fraser Coast economy.

“This is not George Street or Martin Square. When you have a small or medium-sized business in Hervey Bay or Maryborough, an interest rate rise hurts.”

He urged Fraser Coast businesses to throw off the shackles of powerlessness, arguing the regional message should be rammed home in banking corridors.

“If it's well put, put often and put by many, it can be effective.”

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