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ANZ-Suncorp sign agreement with Qld government

The two groups have signed agreements with the Palaszczuk government in order to support Queensland jobs and financial services sector.

The signing of the agreement marked the next step in ANZ’s proposed plan to acquire Suncorp Group Limited (Suncorp), which is still subject to authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and government approvals.

The Queensland government signed agreements with ANZ and Suncorp to secure a package of benefits to support high-value jobs and maintain a strong financial services sector in Queensland.

Under the agreement, ANZ has committed to establish a new tech hub in Brisbane for technology specialists in digital, cloud, and data, with the intention to hire or place 700 people into the hub over the next five years.

In addition, the major bank has committed to working with Google to deliver cloud training to tech hub employees, along with Queensland universities to drive research and training in technology.

Suncorp has committed to maintain a strong presence in the state, further investing in people and a range of initiatives within Queensland.

Suncorp’s commitments as part of the agreement include:

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• At least $19 million for the establishment of a Disaster Response Centre of Excellence in Brisbane
• At least $2 million for the establishment of the Suncorp Regional Hub in Townsville with 120 new jobs
• $3 million for community and education initiatives focused on First Nations employment pathways and building skills in disaster resilience and emergency management

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said the agreement represents a significant commitment by ANZ to the state and welcomed the constructive approach of the Palaszczuk government to grow Queensland’s tech sector.

“Research shows Queensland educates almost one-fifth of the nation’s IT students yet has less than one-seventh of the nation’s tech workers,” Mr Elliott said.

ANZ’s tech hub will provide career opportunities to Queenslanders and will create jobs, lift wages, and boost productivity.”

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said Queensland has a strong economic outlook, with Suncorp being committed to supporting growth and creating lasting job opportunities all throughout the state.

“In addition to boosting employment opportunities throughout Queensland, many of the commitments through this package are aimed at improving community resilience to extreme weather,” Mr Johnston said.

“This is of particular importance for Queensland as the most disaster-impacted state in Australia and this announcement by the Queensland government underlines the community benefits of ongoing investment in disaster response and recovery initiatives.”

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick stated he has been clear that the proposed acquisition would only be supported “if it was good for Queensland”.

“The commitments we’ve been able to secure from both Suncorp and ANZ ensure that the number of skilled jobs in our state’s financial services sector will only grow, not just in the south-east, but in regional Queensland as well,” Mr Dick stated.

“Suncorp was born in Queensland, and our negotiations on the proposed sale to ANZ have been all about ensuring this deal delivers benefits to Queenslanders.”

ACCC’s preliminary views

Suncorp acknowledged the release of its response to the ACCC’s statement of preliminary views on the proposed sale, with Mr Johnston stating the group’s detailed response to the ACCC’s consideration process while addressing the matters raised by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in its submission to the regulator.

“Our response outlines why we continue to believe there to be no real commercial likelihood of any alternative transaction such as a merger with any other mid-tier bank and why the proposed transaction with ANZ is in the best interests of our customers, shareholders, employees, and communities,” Mr Johnston said.

Our response also details why we believe the proposed transaction with ANZ would not substantially lessen competition or have a detrimental impact on the competitive environment for customers.”

[RELATED: ANZ-Suncorp merger won’t ‘substantially’ lesson competition: ANZ]

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