Businesses and individuals could face fines of up to $25,000 if they refuse cash transactions

Businesses and individuals could face fines of up to $25,000 if they refuse cash transactions
  • PublishedJune 5, 2024

Cash could remain king under a new push by a former Nationals MP.

Businesses could face fines of $25,000 if they refuse cash, under a bid by a former Nationals MP to secure more freedom for consumers.

Andrew Gee is behind a Private Member’s Bill that would force individuals and businesses to accept cash payment or face heavy penalties.

But the Bill, introduced to federal parliament on Monday, it is likely to be met with mixed reaction.

Under Gee’s proposal, any person who prevented a cash payment of less than $10,000, would be fined up to $5000; while businesses would face fines of up to $25,000.

The only exception would be if using cash posed a “security” threat for the person or business.

Despite the use of cash decreasing heavily over the years, particularly since the COVID pandemic, it is having an apparent resurgence.

Former Nationals MP Andrew Gee wants fines for people and businesses who refuse to accept cash.

Data provided by The Reserve Bank of Australia showed Australians made 30,859,700 ATM cash withdrawals in February this year — up 3.6 per cent compared with February 2023.

In January 2024, there were 30.2 million ATM withdrawals, worth more than $9 billion.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Andrew Gee said Aussies wanted freedom of choice.

“I don’t think it is too late because many Australians, particularly senior Australians, who are the heaviest users of cash, still want the freedom to use it, and why shouldn’t they have that freedom?” Gee said.

Despite a Private Member’s Bill being notoriously difficult to pass, Gee held hope for the possible legislation.

“I think while … we have Australians out there who have concerns about using card and online banking, then we should give them the option of cash, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”

The move is being supported by fellow Independent MPs Bob Katter and Dai Le, the federal member for Fowler.

“It’s vital for our community in western Sydney, and in particular culturally and linguistically diverse communities, because a lot of them do not trust the banking system,” Le said.

The proposal comes after the Senate held an inquiry into the rural banking service, which said the government should guarantee “reasonable access to cash and financial services” for Aussies.

Banks are already starting to go cashless, with Macquarie Bank saying it will phase out cash and cheque payments for customers this year, citing a shift in customers’ banking habits.

On Tuesday, journalist Suzanne Mostyn appeared on Sunrise, talking about going cashless.

“There are people in rural areas, and they’re not all oldies, who are shovelling cash under the mattress, but there are people who genuinely don’t want to be tracked,” Mostyn said.

“Women who are fleeing domestic violence situations, who want anonymity as to where they’re going and where they’re being sheltered.

“There is a lot more to this than meets the eye.”


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