Michelle Lensink

STATE MAJOR BANK LEVY

A question to the Minister for Employment - State Bank tax

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Employment a question about the state bank tax.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Yesterday, I asked the minister a question and a few supplementaries about the state bank tax and whether it would hurt jobs growth, business investment and South Australia's reputation. The minister clearly is at odds with hundreds of industry groups, small and large, and medium size businesses and employees who believe that this tax will be a disaster for South Australia. My question for the minister is: would he like to elaborate on his reasons about why he is correct about those matters and all of those employees and organisations are wrong?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I thank the honourable member for her question very, very much. This is something that we hope they keep raising and keep talking about in the months leading up to March next year. We welcome it very much and I personally welcome this questioning in question time this week.

The facts of the matter are, as we went through yesterday, the big banks made more than $30 billion in profits last year. The federal government estimates that they are undertaxed to the tune of $4 billion. So, it is quite clearly established that this is a levy that they can afford to pay and the money that is being raised by this levy is being put into things that will create jobs in South Australia, like the $200 million Future Jobs Fund. It is that simple.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Supplementary question: can the minister explain then how South Australia's business reputation and confidence is being enhanced by the tax?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): By creating more jobs in this state.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Supplementary: can the minister explain how taxing on the one hand leads to jobs growth and, potentially, what universities teach that sort of logic, apart from the London School of Economics?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I am happy to explain it for the honourable member, and I don't think you need to do a couple of years of financial accounting at uni to understand this. What happens is there are revenue measures. You bring tax in through a range of measures and then you apply it to things like programs to create jobs, and you apply it to things like your schools and hospitals. What you do is you have revenue measures. Just so the honourable member clearly understands: you don't just have spending measures. You need the other side; you need revenue measures as well. You need revenue measures and spending measures. You have measures that create revenue like a levy on the banks, which are undertaxed (according to the federal Liberal government) to the tune of $4 billion, and you have revenue measures that bring in revenue and then you put it towards spending measures like job creation programs. It is pretty simple and that's how it works. I am happy to see if a briefing can be arranged for the honourable member on basic revenue and spending and just how that works.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Further supplementary: can the minister then explain how, if its policies impact on businesses so that they have to expend more on taxes than they earn in their own revenues, they do not go out of business?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Let's have a little bit of order. Minister.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I have to say it again: the banks, on whose side those opposite seem to be siding, on whose side they seem to be clearly on, made $30 billion in profits last year—$30 billion in profits last year, so undertaxed to the tune of $4 billion.

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