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.
Contact: Stephanie Arena 0477 470 677 or Nic Frankham 0435 963 913
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has welcomed the Treasurer’s announcement today of a major overhaul of Australia’s payments system.
“Australia has witnessed a phenomenal shift in customer banking and payment preferences in recent years,” ABA CEO Anna Bligh said.
The RBA continues to address the nation’s inflation challenge with today’s 0.25% increase in the cash rate target, to 4.10%.