Hamilton Island goes cashless: Cash supporters up in arms as Queensland island destination bans cash

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Popular tourist hot spot Hamilton Island is facing scrutiny after it was revealed it has quietly banned the use of cash.

It comes as the nation’s biggest banks close down hundreds of branch locations, citing a rapid decline in cash withdrawal services and a preference for digital banking.

The inevitable move towards a cashless society has attracted criticism in recent years, with opponents of the movement becoming more vocal in recent weeks after a leaked Coles staff memo sparked fears the supermarket would go cashless over Easter.

The supermarket quickly clarified this was not the case, but this didn’t stop thousands of Australians flocking to bank branches and ATMs to withdraw cash on April 2 in a nationwide protest.

Members of the Facebook group Cash Is King Australia – which boasts almost 148,000 members – have expressed their anger once again this week after it was revealed one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations has decided to go completely cashless.

“No trips to Hamilton Island I’m afraid,” a member wrote in a post two weeks ago. “Thousands of people should share this!”

The island located in Queensland’s idyllic Whitsundays’, near the Great Barrier Reef, has quietly kept in place a pandemic era decision to stop using cash on its island.

A short paragraph tucked away in the “Pre Arrival Information” page of the island’s website explains the island is now a “cashless environment”.

“We do not accept cash at any of our outlets,” the site reads.

“Cash deposits and withdrawals can be made using the Bank@Post service at the Australia Post office on Front Street, where cash can also be exchanged for prepaid or top-up Mastercards.

Hamilton Island did not wish to comment further.

The decision has sparked a fury in the comments of the social media post, with members threatening to boycott the island.

“Crossing Hamilton Island off places to visit if they won’t accept cash,” one person wrote.

“If that’s the case then I won’t be going to Hamilton Island ever,” another said.

“If they want more visitors and to prosper they better return to cash. I personally would not go there until cash is used,” a third wrote.

The island joins a growing number of Australian businesses that have phased out cash in recent months.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and Allianz Stadium have all gone cashless.

Macquarie Bank announced it would begin the process of scrapping cash in their branches during 2024, while the nation’s top banks have shuttered the doors of hundreds of branches over the last twelve months.

At least 424 bank branches closed in the year to June 2023, while the number of bank branches across the country has reduced by 37 per cent since June 2017.

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