The Broome Banking Roundtable will be expanded to cover the entire State for it’s groundbreaking work overcoming banking barriers in Kimberley remote communities. Established in June 2022 by Broome CIRCLE, the Broome Banking Roundtable aimed to address barriers to services such as ready access to proper ID, adequate internet access for online banking, access to new bank cards, branch access in communities, and the issue of ATM fees through meetings with community and industry stakeholders. The roundtable started with Djarindjin remote community and the Commonwealth Bank but grew to include most major banks and Kimberley communities including Derby, Kununurra, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Bidyadanga and Broome. Several solutions from the table have been implemented including community ID cards developed by the Djarindjin Community which are now accepted as a legitimate form of ID by the Commonwealth Bank and will officially launch in the coming months. Last month two fee free ATMs were also approved in Ardyaloon and Djarindjin by the Australian Banking Association which are now operational because of Broome CIRCLE’s advocacy. Broome CIRCLE financial counsellor Veronica Johnson said she was extremely proud of what the roundtable had accomplished in such a short space of time. “It started from one community and it developed into all of the Kimberley and now we have a solution base that is going to be leading the way in Australia. It is such a proud moment,” she said. Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA sector quality and development manager Leanne Berard said the Broome CIRCLE initiative had taken much-needed action on the issue. “There’s been a lot of systemic issues that have been going on for many years in the regions. There’s a lot of discussion but the action has been lacking,” she said. “That’s where the determination and persistence of Broome CIRCLE, and in particular Veronica Johnson, to be able to be the conduit between stakeholders and communities has been exceptional. “Stakeholders being on the land and being able to speak to community and the community being able to share their insights and stories is the key to success. That’s why these round tables have been so successful.” Ms Berard said FCAWA recognised the type of model Broome CIRCLE had established should have a full WA focus. “That’s why from the beginning, we said, we would like to see that this is a Statewide all-inclusive initiative so all communities could be heard,” she said. “We will be embedding the roundtable into our existing remote and regional framework, with the continuation of community outreach and engagement, a priority focus” Despite the table’s success, Ms Johnson said there was still much work to be done. “I think the work that we have achieved in the Kimberley is going to be something for other financial counsellors to be inspired by and it is hopeful that other regions across WA will also be able to benefit,” she said. It comes as representatives from major banks, financial service providers and government agencies gathered on October 17 for the last Broome Banking Roundtable before it is moved under the purview of the FCAWA.