Westpac wants the bank levy legislated so it can only be changed by a vote in parliament

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Westpac chief financial officer Peter King is calling for the budget’s $6.2 billion bank levy rate to be set out in the legislation to ensure changes to it can’t be made without a vote in parliament.

He is concerned that the government could turn the levy into an opportunity to claim higher taxes.

As it stands, treasurer Scott Morrison would have the power to vary the 0.06% annual fee on liabilities of more than $100 billion without consulting parliament.

“Given the objective of the new levy is to repair the budget, the legislation should also be drafted so that it ceases once the budget is in surplus,” King told The Australian.

“If future governments want to change the levy it should be subject to a change in legislation, where it can be appropriately debated in the parliament.”

The Australian Bankers Association has also called for the tax rate to be “baked into legislation”.

“Anything less would be writing a blank cheque for the Treasurer and any subsequent government,” chief Anna Bligh said.

Yesterday NAB chairman Ken Henry and former Treasury secretary called for a public inquiry into the bank tax, and accused the government of rushing policy and lacking credibility on fiscal strategy.

The Australian has more.

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