Greens will limit levy to big four banks

Greens Deputy Leader and Federal Member for Melbourne says the Greens will use their numbers in the Parliament to limit the government’s bank levy to the big four banks only, so that it won’t be passed on to consumers.

Mr Bandt says the Greens have been pushing for a levy for over two years but the government’s model may mean the levy gets passed on to consumers rather then coming off bank profits.

“The government has made a mistake by widening the levy beyond the big four banks,” Mr Bandt said.

“The Greens will use our numbers in the Parliament to restrict the levy to the big four banks.”

“Banks have said they’ll pass the levy on to consumers. However, if the levy is limited to the big four banks and they try to pass it on to consumers, people will be able to go down the road to a smaller bank that isn’t charging the levy. Under the Greens’model, competitive pressures will stop the big four banks from passing the levy on to consumers.”

“The big four banks are the most profitable in the world and they get government support in the way the smaller banks and credit unions don’t. The big banks should pay the levy, not their consumers.”

"For many years, especially since the GFC, the big four banks have benefited from an implicit ‘too big to fail' policy, as the IMF has made clear. It is time the big four banks paid a fair contribution for the public support they receive.”

The Greens in March this year proposed a 20 basis points levy on bank assets in excess of $100 billion. The proposal costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office to raise $11 billion over four years. The levy mirrors similar levies in Europe that raise on average approximately 0.2% of GDP and is based on International Monetary Fund proposals. An updated costing of the levy was released as part of the Greens' election platform launch on July 14 to raise $8.4 billion over the next 3 years.