Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 401 ..
have those accounts. This means that approximately 3.5 million Australians who opened their first bank account with the Commonwealth Bank remain loyal customers. This branding exercise is such a beautiful piece of marketing that the Dollarmites brand is estimated to be worth $10 billion.
Until now, the banks have been using our schools to facilitate this marketing to Canberra’s students. This is shocking but it is not surprising, given the Commonwealth Bank’s powerful grip over the public consciousness and the incentive payments or kickbacks that schools get for volunteering their time, parents’ time, and school spaces to this extremely wealthy bank. That is right; the Commonwealth Bank has been playing schools to buy their students’ customer loyalty.
I respect the hard work of public school P&Cs, which are interested in and truly dedicated to their students and their school communities. This motion calls on the government to continue to work closely with these important stakeholders and to prepare them for the transition away from school banking. The fact that banks and financial institutions prey on the underfunding of public school facilities to shore up this dodgy business is deeply unethical.
While the short-term gain for a participating school can be really appealing, the long-term cost to our students is much too high, although it is an extremely effective investment on the Commonwealth Bank’s part. We owe it to our students to set them up for success in life. That means teaching them to be financially literate—learning how to save and to live within their means. It is not our responsibility, nor is it ethical, to support the development of a lifelong brand loyalty to a private company. I look forward to the Assembly supporting this motion today.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (3.13): The government supports Mr Davis’s motion, which outlines an important issue that the government has been considering—school banking programs in public schools.
In 2017 the government had a big conversation with the Canberra community about education. Over 16 months we heard from around 5,000 individuals about what they wanted to see in Canberra schools over the next 10 years. Forty-four per cent of those responses were from young people. We also heard from parents, carers, teachers, school staff, community organisations, the Australian Education Union, P&Cs, principals and others. The Future of Education strategy is the culmination of what we heard from the community in that conversation. In those consultations, students told us again and again that they wanted to learn life skills. One student wrote, “We need to be more prepared for the outside world. We need to be taught relevant things. Teach us things that we will use.”
One of the things that students identified that they wanted to learn about was money and finances. Understanding money and how it works in the real world is a critical part of our children’s learning. At around the same time as we were having the Future of Education consultations, the banking royal commission brought to light the