18 May 2017
Sydney, 17 May 2017: In an extraordinary move the Federal Government has today forced senior executives of the five major banks to sign confidentiality agreements before releasing the draft major bank tax legislation for examination.
Australian Bankers’ Association Chief Executive Anna Bligh said the banks were shocked by this move, which prevents banks from consulting with their Boards, customers and their shareholders on the implications of this legislation.
“A bad tax has now become a secret tax,” Ms Bligh said.
“The Government is going to extraordinary lengths to keep this tax hidden from the people who will be most affected by it and from the public.
“How can Australia’s major banks determine the impacts of this legislation if their senior staff and analysts are in danger of being prosecuted if they speak to stakeholders, the public or the media?
“A totally unacceptable public policy process has today gone from bad to worse,” she said.
“This new major bank tax that will raise more than $6 billion over the next four years will have profound effects on banks, their customers and shareholders. The Government has now made it illegal for the Bill to be tested in the public sphere.
“This is likely to lead to highly flawed legislation, and further risks unintended consequences on the economy and financial system,” Ms Bligh said.
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“…banks can go back to their normal processes and that is working out what’s right for every single customer, on an individual tailored basis with a proper assessment. That is the best thing for the customer.”
Access to credit opens up opportunities and fulfills aspirations. Getting it right requires the right balance between consumer protections and the flow of credit.
Interviewed by AM’s Peter Ryan, ABA CEO Anna Bligh talked about the substantial drop in loan deferrals since their peak during the pandemic, falling from 900,000 to 300,000.