ANZ concerned SA bank levy could be copied

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
ANZ concerned SA banks levy starts a trend
ANZ concerned SA banks levy starts a trend

The South Australian government is bracing for a full-on assault from Australia's big banks as they continue to fight the state's new bank tax.

ANZ and Westpac have led the charge, along with the Australian Banking Association.

Westpac has shelved plans to create about 150 jobs in SA, while ANZ has branded the levy unfair.

"This is a wealth transfer from the rest of Australia to South Australia," ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott told ABC radio on Thursday.

"You're asking 95 per cent of our customers and shareholders to pay for this who don't live in South Australia.

"There will be consequences. People will think twice about putting money into the state."

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis maintained his position that the banks were only being asked to pay their fair share.

He met with Mr Elliott to express those views on Tuesday and expected to tell the ABA the same thing at a meeting on Thursday.

"They make super profits and they don't pay GST," he said of the five big banks.

"If they paid GST they'd be paying an extra $4 billion a year in taxes, which we'd be spending on roads, schools and job creation."

But Mr Koutsantonis said he didn't expect the banks to go quietly.

"I expect a very large campaign from the banks. They don't want to pay their fair share of taxes," he said.

The state government has also taken aim at Opposition Leader Steven Marshall who initially said the budget measure would be allowed to pass the parliament but has since indicated it would be up to a meeting of the Liberal party room on Monday.

Premier Jay Weatherill challenged Mr Marshall to a live debate on radio on the issue.

"I'm interested in having a serious debate with his decision to essentially hand back money to the big banks," Mr Weatherill said.

Mr Marshall accepted the premier's challenge but said there should be a wider debate on the entire state budget.

South Australians deserve a full blown leader's debate regarding the state budget, not just the abbreviated version the Premier proposed today," he said.

The SA levy aims to raise $370 million from the ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth, NAB and Macquarie banks over four years from July 1, and is based on their liabilities across the country.

A similar federal government bank levy aims to generate $6.2 billion from the same institutions to help repair the budget.