When it comes to dividends it is hard to look beyond Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and its generous payouts. At the current share price Australia’s oldest bank is forecast to provide investors with a fully franked 6.2% dividend in FY 2017 according to CommSec.

Whilst I think this is a great dividend, not all investors are comfortable investing in Australia’s banks. Fears over dividend cuts, rising bad debts, and a housing market crash are usually the reasons for this.

For those income investors that have an aversion to the banks, the following dividend shares could be great alternatives.

G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM)

Following a weaker-than-expected half year result, the shares of this childcare operator have plummeted around 20%. This drop means that its shares are now expected to provide investors with a fully franked 7.7% dividend in FY 2017. Whilst its first half performance was disappointing, management is anticipating a much stronger second half. If it can pull this off, then I believe the bulls will be back.

IVE Group Ltd (ASX: IGL)

This leading printing and marketing company appears to be flying under the radar. Its shares are forecast to provide a stunning fully franked 8.2% dividend in FY 2017. Printing and marketing is a notoriously competitive industry with reasonably low barriers to entry. But I feel IVE Group’s market-leading position gives it an edge. As does its ability to develop long-standing relationships. Its top 20 customers have each been with the company for an average of 9 years.

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS)

It may be an obvious choice, but there’s a reason for that. At the current share price the telco giant is predicted to pay a fully franked 6.5% dividend in the year ahead. Whilst some investors do have concerns about its slowing growth, I feel the company’s venture into Asia and the health care sector will help it grow earnings at least in the low-single digits. At the current price I think this makes it a great buy and hold investment.

Finally, if you invest in dividend shares as part of a retirement portfolio then I would highly recommend you take a look at these fast-growing dividend shares.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.