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Labor set to adopt Greens bank levy

Media Release
Adam Bandt 1 Aug 2013

Greens Deputy Leader, Adam Bandt, has welcomed reports that the government may adopt the Greens' bank levy policy in tomorrow's economic statement.

However, Mr Bandt warned the government risked the possibility of the levy being passed on to consumers, and undermining competition if it applied to smaller banks as well as the big four.

"Labor looks set to adopt the Greens' bank levy," Mr Bandt said.

"I welcome Labor's support for Greens economic policy."

"The Greens have been calling for such a levy for over two years, as a fair return for the support the government gives the banks. However, Labor must ensure the levy is restricted to the big four banks only, otherwise it risks the costs being passed on to consumers.

"Labor must now also look at reforming the mining tax rather than coming after benefits and services with an axe."

"For many years, especially since the GFC, the big four banks have benefited from an implicit ‘too big to fail' policy, as the IMF has made clear. It is time the big four banks paid a fair contribution for the public support they receive. Other industries, like manufacturing or tourism, would love to have the government underwriting their business so they could borrow more cheaply. The banks are getting an unfair leg-up."

The Greens in March this year proposed a 20 basis points levy on bank assets in excess of $100 billion. The proposal costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office to raise $11 billion over four years. The levy mirrors similar levies in Europe that raise on average approximately 0.2% of GDP and is based on International Monetary Fund proposals. An updated costing of the levy was released as part of the Greens' election platform launch on July 14 to raise $8.4 billion over the next 3 years.

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