The Labor Party has announced that it will impose a $640 million tax on the country’s largest banks if it wins a national election by May, according to a report by Reuters.
This comes at a time when the industry is faced with numerous issues exposed by the banking royal commission. In its final report, the commission recommended numerous initiatives to transform the industry, which major political parties said they would support “in principle.”
The recommendations included additional funding for financial counsellors, since the sector was having a difficult time matching the rising demand for its services.
The new tax would increase by $160 million annually over four years to shoulder the expenses for financial counselling services for people in financial difficulty or those who were burdened by banks, according to Bill Shorten, Labor leader.
“Labor will give bank victims a fairer chance to fight for their rights. If the taxpayer is underwriting the security of the banks, I don’t think it is unreasonable for the banks to give something back to the taxpayer," Shorten recently told reporters.
Labor’s proposed tax would be in addition to the new $6 billion government-initiated tax on the largest financial institutions in 2017.