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SA bank tax is bad for business

31 October 2017

There are now just a matter of days before the South Australian Parliament decides to either protect South Australian jobs and investment, or undermine them, by introducing an unpopular bank tax.

Australian Bankers’ Association Chief Executive Anna Bligh said in a last ditch effort to have the tax abandoned I have written to each and every MP outlining the facts.

“We’ve heard from small business, big business, MPs and South Australian voters who all disagree with the tax, the only ones not listening are members of the Government,” she said.

“I think it’s important to point out the strong contribution that banks make to the South Australian economy. They employ 6,500 people locally, with 400 branches statewide. In the 2015/16 financial year, banks injected $1.5 billion into the South Australian economy through dividends paid directly to the 146,400 South Australian bank shareholders, and they lent $10 billion to South Australians to buy a home,” Ms Bligh said.

Financial services, including insurance, is the second biggest industry in South Australia contributing 7.7 per cent of gross state product, second only to the health industry.

“Voters are rightly concerned that this tax will negatively impact employment and make the state less competitive at a time when South Australia desperately needs jobs, investment and growth,” Ms Bligh said.

“The bank tax will discourage investment, put a handbrake on growth, and impact jobs. Make no mistake, it will make South Australia a risky place to do business,” she said.

“The South Australian Government is trying to convince people that banks don’t pay their share and play no part in helping the state grow and flourish – that is simply not true.

“Banks are by far the biggest taxpayers in Australia, paying around $11.5 billion in corporate tax of which around $650 million would have flowed through to South Australia, with an additional $25 million in payroll tax paid directly by banks to South Australia,” Ms Bligh said.

“Government claims that banks pay no GST are also untrue. Banks pay more than $1 billion a year in GST on the goods and services they purchase, but don’t charge GST on financial products. This means that GST is a direct cost to financial institutions.

“Banks are vital to the economy and introducing a tax will result in long term pain for the people of South Australia. We are calling on members of the SA Parliament to join the Liberals and cross benchers Robert Brokenshire, Dennis Hood and John Darley to vote down the tax,” Ms Bligh said.

ENDS

Contact: Kelly Stevens 0497 577 133

@austbankers

bankers.asn.au

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