MOUNT Isa will be a focus of Australia's corporate watchdog's crackdown on banking advertising.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has called for tenders for a media monitoring outfit able to provide investigators with access to a searchable, regularly updated database of print, radio and television advertisements.
The mining towns of Mount Isa and Kalgoorlie have been identified as key target areas, as has the Gold Coast.
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter cited the experiences of Richmond Mayor John Wharton as an example of the need for greater scrutiny in regional banking.
Councillor Wharton's properties, Runnymede and Red Rock Station, were placed into receivership in November by BankWest.
"I had lengthy discussions with the CEO [of ASIC] during the upheaval surrounding John Wharton last year and expressed my extreme fear that any irresponsible actions and fire sales in the station properties could set off a financial conflagration," he said.
"Once the dominoes start falling you won't be able to stop them."
The advertising blitz was foreshadowed in February by ASIC commissioner Peter Kell, a consumer protection veteran who joined ASIC in October last year after a stint as deputy chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Speaking at a Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia lunch, Mr Kell identified mining towns as one of several targets preyed upon by "unscrupulous promoters".
''Irrespective of whether it's a region that has a larger proportion of retirees, a mining town, or a remote indigenous community, we should see financial products and advice marketed in a responsible and accurate fashion,'' he said.
''We know from past experience that sometimes these communities are targeted.''
Mr Kell said dishonest advertising could cause consumers to make unviable financial choices.
"The experience in recent years indicates that ads that do not give clear, accurate and balanced information about a financial product or service can create unrealistic expectations and lead to poor financial decisions," he said.