In an important development, Australians are being granted a 20-day window to participate in a consultation organized by the Treasury to discuss proposed reforms in the payment systems.
This consultation revolves around the exposure draft legislation to amend the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 and will remain open for submissions until November 1, 2023.
A focal point of this consultation, and a rallying cry for many, is the call to safeguard the role of cash as a dependable, private, and wholly secure payment method in the midst of the evolving digital payments landscape.
The Treasury’s consultation page highlights the government’s commitment to addressing emerging risks associated with the rapidly changing payments landscape. As this realm continues to advance and grow in complexity, regulators and the government aim to keep the legislative framework aligned with these developments.
The Australian Citizens Party, while not yet taking a stance on the specific reforms proposed, encourages all Australians to seize this opportunity to make their voices heard in support of preserving cash as a payment option.
This initiative carries weight because, although the government has repeatedly asserted that it has no intention to eliminate cash, there are concerns that banks are, in practice, pushing the country towards a cashless society. They do so by imposing limits on cash withdrawals, subjecting customers to rigorous interrogations, reducing access to cash by closing branches and removing ATMs, and even incentivizing businesses to go cashless.
If this trend continues unchecked, it raises the specter of an entirely digital future where any natural disaster or power outage could potentially bring all commerce to a standstill. Without the option to use cash, essential goods such as food, water, and fuel could become inaccessible during such crises.
Moreover, this trajectory empowers banks to transition to fully digital business models, enabling them to track and trace every transaction, monetize data, and profit from each transaction conducted by their customers.
In this push for digital transformation, banks and the Australian Banking Association (ABA) have been accused of using misleading claims and data to portray a skewed image of Australian commerce. One such claim is the supposed plummeting of cheque usage, which, while presented as a percentage, has actually seen the absolute number of cheques written per month remain relatively stable at around 2 million for the past 15 years.
To address these concerns and protect the future of cash, all concerned Australians are urged to participate in the consultation by sending emails or writing physical letters. Key points of focus should include the preservation of cash, the promotion of legislation to ensure businesses continue to accept cash payments, and the avoidance of a forced phase-out of cheques by 2030. This is a critical opportunity for Australians to shape the future of their payment systems and preserve the versatility, security, and privacy that cash provides.