Greens pressure Gillard Govt to impose levy on big banks

THE Greens have renewed calls for the Federal Government to slap Australia's big four banks with a levy after ANZ announced a record profit on Tuesday.

ANZ revealed a half-year net profit of $2.94 billion, while Westpac and NAB were expected to announce half-year profits of a similar magnitude in the coming days.

Earlier this year the Commonwealth Bank posted a $3.66 billion net first-half profit.

Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt said that if Prime Minister Julia Gillard was serious about considering all options to boost the budget bottom line she would look at his proposal to make the banks pay a levy, which would raise $11 billion over the next four years.

"Most people would prefer a levy on the big banks, which would raise $11 billion, instead of higher taxes or cuts to universities," Mr Bandt said.

He also echoed Greens leader Christine Milne's call for the government to fix the mining tax, which would deliver far less revenue than previously forecast.

In March the Parliamentary Budget Office costed a proposal by the Greens to introduce a 20 basis points levy on bank assets in excess of $100 billion.

The PBO said the levy would be a "significant impost" on the big four banks and predicted they would take steps to avoid paying the levy, which would effect the forecast revenue.


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