Aussie businesses could face hefty fines for refusing cash

The move aims to curb the growing movement towards a cashless society.

Aussie businesses could face hefty fines for refusing cash
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Australian businesses refusing to accept cash payments could be hit with substantial fines under a new bill introduced in Canberra on Monday.

The Keeping Cash Transactions in Australia bill, presented by a group of independent MPs, mandates that cash must be accepted for all legal transactions up to $10,000.

Businesses that flout this requirement could face fines up to $25,000, while individuals could be fined up to $5,000.

Former Nationals MP Andrew Gee, along with independents Dai Le and Bob Katter, championed the proposal. Katter, a Queensland MP, recently made headlines after a Parliament café refused his $50 note for lunch.

Gee highlighted a surprising gap in the law, noting:

“Carrying Australian banknotes does not guarantee a cash transaction; it’s at the business’s discretion. If a business declines cash, it’s not obligated to accept it.”

According to the Australian Banking Association, Australians are among the world's highest users of cashless payments, with only 13 per cent of transactions involving cash.

This shift was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, as digital wallet payments surged from $746 million in 2018 to over $93 billion in 2022.

Despite this trend, opponents of a cashless society cite significant concerns. Gee emphasised that many Australians, particularly in his electorate of Calare, fear the disappearance of cash.

Dai Le, representing western Sydney, stressed the importance of cash for culturally diverse communities.

“Many do not trust the banking system, she said, underscoring cash’s vital role.

Katter framed the issue as one of personal freedom, warning against increased government control in a cashless society.

“With cash, we control it; we control how we spend it and save it, he argued.

The proposal follows a previous Morrison government attempt to ban cash transactions over $10,000, which was dropped in 2020. The Australian Taxpayers Alliance, a vocal critic of the ban, continues to advocate for cash’s role in economic freedom.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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