Appropriation Bill 2017

Ms SANDERSON (Adelaide) (20:53): I rise to speak predominantly about the banking tax that the government is planning to implement that the Liberal Party is planning to block. I put a post up on Facebook to give the constituents and the people of Adelaide the right to have a say on this terrible banking tax, unlike the government which has not actually consulted with anyone—not the businesses, not the people. Not even their own advisers were consulted on this terrible and very damaging tax. I will read out a few comments, including this from one of my constituents:

It is very rare for me to comment or get involved in political or policy issues with the one obvious exception being the O-Bahn. However, I do feel strongly about the bank tax and believe it is essential that the Liberal Party moves to block it in the upper house. I understand the convention about passing budgets but don't believe there is any reason that precludes voting against one specific budget measure. This tax is simply wrong and will make South Australia a laughing stock.

A further comment is:

I support any action against the banking tax. We already have one at a federal level and the banks have already said they will pass it on to customers. Doing it at a state level, too, is just hitting people twice. Banks are only ever going to look after their own profit margins and shareholders won't accept a loss that would impact their share prices. People who can ill afford it will once again be hardest hit.

Further comments are:

Banks are owned by super funds, and super funds managed funds for every worker in the land. Bank tax will affect dividends into super funds. Whether you vote or right or anywhere in between, the proposed bank tax affects everybody. It will no doubt affect investment and lost job opportunities in the South Australian economy that is already the worst performing in the nation.

Here are some further comments:

This extra bank tax is very bad for the state as it will be passed on to all, including the poor. The banks pay $12 billion in tax and 85 per cent of their profits to shareholders, which are lots of super funds and small investors like mum and dads. If anyone thinks this is good, they need their head read. I highly recommend you vote against this decision. Vote no.

This is a shortsighted, desperate and mischievous tax. It has been said many times these tax will impact thousands of personal and business clients and shareholders and ward off potential South Australian investors. The proposed tax is a declaration that this current government does not reward success. The comments about this tax from the Labor government are mischievous because they prey on the ignorance of the general public who don't understand the business of banking in relation to the balance sheet profit generation and redistribution of funds. I hope the opposition opposes this tax.

This is just a tax on success. What business comes next? Insurance? Adding a new state-based tax to banking is totally insane and misguided. It's a cash grab iron from an out of touch and totally out of control government clique of clowns. South Australia is in deep, deep trouble and only a totally new government has any chance of saving us from hell.

I am dead against the tax. I am no longer an employee of a bank, so I'm not fighting for my job, but this tax is merely game playing. The real damage will be what it will do to this state , to the shareholders, to the day-to-day employees trying to keep a job, allowing for growth in the state via jobs in this industry, having flow-on effects to the customers, to businesses and to competitiveness. Do you remember the FIDs and BADs tax? Well, I have been in the finance industry for a long time and one was a federal tax and the other a state tax. Well, at the time, South Australian customers would open accounts interstate—for example, Central Queensland—to avoid the tax for the pleasure of depositing or withdrawing their own cash. Please, Rachel, be the voice of reason and tell Labor they are on a real loser here. Their mismanagement has led to the loss of jobs and they are being desperate, so of course the banks are an obvious target as they make good profits to keep our supers, shareholders and bank jobs going.

No economy ever taxed itself into prosperity. Desperate acts of desperate men. No, I am not in favour.

The profits the banks make get passed on to the shareholders. Virtually everyone has a superannuation fund that has bank shares, so basically it's just another poorly thought-out and ill-conceived tax on the general public.

Against any measure that makes us less competitive, we need to be the cheapest state in everything and especially making this state the cheapest to do business and employ people. It's time to slash government waste. It's time to have our finances independently audited. It's time to cut regulation. It's time to make WorkCover the cheapest in the country. It's time to have less government think-tanks and consultants. Stop telling a store owner when it can open. Stop local councils having rules making it difficult to run a business.

It's pure and simple, Rachel. A state-based bank tax is a recipe for a failed economy. Reject this or face the electoral consequences. Everyone knows the banks will pass this impost on to their customers and/or shareholders and, hey, that's us. Reject Labor's insane economic logic, please.

More taxes, too many taxes. Many are immoral. This is just another tax, but there will be a flow-on to bank customers. You can bet on it. The banks and their shareholders won't wear the extra costs themselves. It's not in their nature.

There were just so many, many comments on Facebook, and those are just some of the comments that were against this absolutely toxic tax. The reason that Labor is putting in this toxic tax is that they are completely unable to run within their own budget. Their overruns are causing them these issues so that they have to find money. We know that they have already sold the lotteries and the Motor Accident Commission. They are selling the Lands Titles Office, and many of my constituents are very concerned about their data and personal information being sold off to overseas companies.

Let me talk about the sale of the forests in the South-East that was recently in the paper. In 2012, treasurer Snelling at the time, despite pre-2010 stating that there would no sale of any assets, sold 100 years of forward rotations of the South-East forests for only $670 million. At the time, the Liberal opposition claimed that it was worth between $950 million and $1.2 billion. The forestry experts said it was being sold for at least $500 million below its value. At the time, the forests contributed around $30 million per annum to state revenue and to our budget, which over 100 years is around $3 billion.

Five years later, we see in the paper that the purchaser has posted a $125.5 million profit in one year with their plantation earnings, and it will likely have paid the whole asset off by mid-2019, only seven years after purchasing it. You can see that we are in this pickle because this government undersells things, does not know how to run the economy, has never run a business in its life and has no idea how to run the state. At the time of the sale of the forests, there were hundreds of job losses and property prices in the South-East dropped. I even had people contacting me in Adelaide saying that they were wanting to move into a retirement village; however, the bottom had dropped out of the market so they could not sell their homes, so they could not move.

There are now high levels of unemployment, and we know that in the South-East there are high levels of drug use, domestic violence and crime, which we all know come as a result of job losses and downturns in the economy. This was instigated by the Labor government's desperation in selling off the forward rotations. We also see now that the government is trying to sell off the administration building and the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site. We should have had an announcement by 30 June, which we are still waiting to hear.

This government likes building shiny things and tries to convince people, by splashing money around, to vote for them, but we need consistent economic growth, not project by project, shiny new thing by shiny new thing, and then we have a valley of death in the middle where we lose all our workers and jobs. We need to spend money on creating jobs and opportunities not buildings. We need to focus on service not buildings. We have new hospitals, but we have no doctors, nurses and specialists. We heard recently of people who died because we did not have specialists in the right areas, so we need to stop only building shiny new buildings and worry about servicing our community.