Where’s Westpac?

Locals are questioning the reasons behind the Ayr branch of Westpac Bank temporarily closing its doors.

Locals and business owners in Ayr have been left frustrated by the temporary closure of the Westpac branch in Queen Street.

More puzzling, staff from the branch have been spotted working in the Aitkenvale branch – seemingly prioritising Townsville over the smaller Burdekin community.

It is supposed that the redeployment is due to COVID-19 depleting staff numbers in Townsville but with Burdekin customers dependent on face-to-face transactions, the closure is problematic for those without internet banking.

A Westpac spokesperson told Burdekin Local News, “Westpac Ayr is currently temporarily closed due to staffing availability. We apologise for any inconvenience and will reopen the branch as soon as possible. Westpac customers in Ayr can do their banking at the local Australia Post via Bank@Post or call 132 032 if they require additional support.” 

Referring to the closure, Burdekin Shire Council Mayor, Cr Lyn McLaughlin agreed that it was unfortunate but unsurprising considering the impact of COVID on businesses.

“COVID-19 continues to present communities worldwide with extraordinary circumstances, two years on from the announcement of a pandemic in Australia,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Over this time we have seen other local institutions close their Burdekin branches completely, so I want to thank Westpac for recognising the Burdekin continues to be an important community to invest in and commend all staff for going above and beyond to do what is required.

“Each organisation has their own Business Continuity Plans to enact in unprecedented circumstances, however, while actions taken by Westpac ensure Townsville branches are able to stay open and service their larger population, it is disappointing it comes at the expense of our residents. I want to wish Westpac’s Burdekin staff good health as they undertake their temporary roles in Townsville and hope to see them back in our Shire soon.”

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