A Port Lincoln business has raised concern that the South Australian government’s state bank levy would damage business confidence for the state.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis announced on June 22 a Major Bank Levy would be introduced to help fund job-creation initiatives and was expected to raise about $370 million over forward estimates.
Business SA has declared its opposition to the bank tax and has launched an ad campaign showing businesses that have also raised concerns.
One business is Lincoln Computer Centre with owner Greg Williams becoming involved after sending an email of support to his local Bank SA branch.
Mr Williams said the business had been banking with Bank SA for more than 30 years and valued their services.
“I wrote to my local branch to express my support for the banks’ position and then was invited to participate in the (ad) campaign and was happy to lend my support,” he said.
Mr Williams said he was already concerned about the state’s business outlook and the tax would further damage the notion of doing business in SA.
“Adding on taxes and levies is just not the way of doing things,” he said.
“I don’t want to see South Australia at a disadvantage compared to the other states.”
Mr Williams said while he was concerned about the federal tax on banks it at least applied to all states.
The state opposition has declared it would attempt to block the bank levy, arguing it will drive investment and employment out of SA.
Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said the businesses and people of SA should not be affected by another tax.
“Ultimately it’s not about the banks itself, but the proposition of yet another tax on the businesses and people of South Australia,” he said.
However the state government is sticking by the levy as it is aimed to fund its employment and business intiatives.
This includes $15,000 grants for new apprentices, the $200 million Future Jobs Fund and payroll tax cuts.
Mr Koutsantonis said the levy would fund thousands of South Australian small businesses, creating new jobs in the economy.
“This levy is about getting the big banks to pay their fare share of tax, and equates to just one third of one per cent of the big banks’ $30 billion in super profits,” he said.
“Importantly, the state government is legislating to make it unlawful for the banks to put in place specific fees or charges in South Australia to recover the costs of the levy.
“The five big banks know that if they follow through on threats to charge South Australians higher interest rates they’ll lose their customers to smaller banks and credit unions who are not subjet to the Major Bank Levy.”
Mr Koutsantonis said when the Commonwealth government introduced its Major Bank Levy the same concerns about costs being passed were raised but since then variable interests have dropped and bank share prices have increased.