A tax on banks could rake in $1.5 billion over four years for the state, the Victorian Greens say.
The minor party is pushing for a controversial banking levy, based on the South Australian model proposed by the former Labor government.
“The Greens’ plan for a levy on the big four banks, plus Macquarie Bank, will return some of the super profits of the banks to all Victorians,” Greens’ treasury spokeswoman Ellen Sandell said in a statement on Monday.
“This means more public money for our schools, hospitals, public transport, and essential services across Victoria.”
The Greens have had the policy reviewed by the recently-established parliamentary budget office, which costs political policies.
The party’s plan would apply to banks operating in Victoria which are already liable for the federal major bank levy and would be set at 0.015 per cent per quarter of the state’s share of bank liabilities, calculated using Victoria’s share of the national economy.
“Banks should be working for us, but the royal commission has shown us that they’ve racked up super profits off the back of shocking behaviour,” Ms Sandell said.
“We can’t just rely on taxes from an over-inflated housing market to pay Victoria’s bills.”
However, Premier Daniel Andrews quickly shot down the suggestion, telling ABC radio on Monday he ruled it out when the SA government tried it and his position had not changed.
Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said the policy was “recklesss and dangerous”, discouraging investment, slowing growth and affecting jobs.
“This proposal will hurt business confidence, affect investment and make the state a riskier place to do business,” Ms Bligh said.
“The finance and insurance industry is vitally important to the Victorian economy, contributing 10.6 per cent to economic activity of the state.
“Australia’s banks last year paid almost $14 billion in tax, making them the largest taxpayers in the country.”
Australian Associated Press