‘IM­POSE LEVY ON FOR­EIGN BANKS, TOO’

Govt can re­coup up to A$800m by ap­ply­ing tax on over­seas lenders, says law­maker

New Straits Times - - Business -

MEL­BOURNE

AUS­TRALIA should ex­tend its new bank levy to for­eign fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in a bid to re­coup more than the planned A$6.2 bil­lion (RM19.89 bil­lion), says cross-bench law­maker Nick Xenophon.

Ap­ply­ing the tax to for­eign banks as well as the na­tion’s five big­gest lenders might re­coup as much as A$800 mil­lion, which could help fund com­pen­sa­tion for vic­tims of fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment and fraud, Xenophon told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Corp (ABC) yes­ter­day.

“It’s im­por­tant that for­eignowned banks that have a big pres­ence here in this coun­try also be hit with this levy,” he told the ABC’s In­sid­ers pro­gramme.

“The big banks are say­ing, ‘well, if you are go­ing to hit us with this, why aren’t you hit­ting the for­eign banks?’ I think they have a point.”

Aus­tralia planned to raise bil­lions over the next four years by im­pos­ing a six ba­sis points levy on li­a­bil­i­ties over A$100 bil­lion, said Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son in the bud­get re­leased May 9.

The levy would ap­ply to Com­mon­wealth Bank of Aus­tralia, West­pac Bank­ing Corp, Aus­tralia & New Zealand Bank­ing Group, Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank Ltd and Mac­quarie Group Ltd, ac­cord­ing to Trea­sury.

Those ma­jor banks called for for­eign com­peti­tors, in­clud­ing ING Groep NV, HSBC Hold­ings Plc and Rabobank to be net­ted by the new tax, ac­cord­ing to sub­mis­sions to Trea­sury last week in re­sponse to the bud­get.

Mor­ri­son said off­shore firms pro­vided com­pe­ti­tion and the gov­ern­ment wanted Aus­tralia’s bank­ing sys­tem to be com­pet­i­tive when he was asked on May 19 if he would ex­tend the levy to for­eign banks. Bloomberg

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