Community Service Obligations in Australian Retail Banking - Fact or Fiction?

Julia Lynch

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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In this dissertation it is argued that the concept of Community Service
Obligations needs revisiting in light of the changes to the assessment of
disadvantage in social policy. The origins of CSO policy development were
grounded in the microeconomic reform process of the 1990’s. This process
was conducted with the objective of improving efficiency in government
business enterprises rather than improving delivery of social policy. This
had the unfortunate consequence of providing a definition that was limited
in scope and was focused on a post hoc justification for the retention of
social programs that were not couched in broader themes of social policy.
Recent developments in definitions of disadvantage, deprivation and social
exclusion suggest that there may be further use for Community Service
Obligations as a policy instrument for delivering specific types of social

A new definition of a CSO is developed in this dissertation, informed by
and reflective of, the changing focus of social policy where disadvantage is
now assessed in term of social exclusion and deprivation, rather than by the
single dimension of poverty. A decision framework has also been
developed to enable the assessment of the existence of new CSOs within a
sector or industry. In this dissertation this new definition and decision
framework is applied to the retail banking sector in Australia to determine if
the issue of financial exclusion satisfies the criteria for the existence of
CSOs in that sector. In this application, it is determined that there is no CSO in retail banking in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Walker, Gregory, Principal Supervisor
Award date01 Aug 2014
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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