WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt says the South Australian government’s controversial bank levy is an attractive option and he’ll watch with interest ahead of delivering his own budget in September.
SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis wants to raise $370 million over the next four years with a levy on the big four banks and Macquarie Group, in addition to the the bank levy announced in the May federal budget.
Mr Wyatt, whose recently elected government is dealing with a $3 billion deficit and record debt tipped to reach more than $42 billion, said he was not surprised states were looking at other revenue sources.
The WA government itself announced on Thursday hikes in utilities and other fees that will slug the average West Australian household an extra $438.40 a year under the 2017/18 state budget.
WA had the “greatest argument” given it had ceded revenue sources by signing up to the system of distributing the GST but that had not delivered, he said.
Hitting the banks up for a levy was “politically a lot easier” than many other options.
“I am not saying it’s being considered yet, we are watching South Australia and seeing how they are actually going to do it,” he told ABC radio.
“But I am not going to pretend for a moment it’s not an attractive option.”