Banks should get tax cut too: PM

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Turnbull says the Government is taking action to ensure banks treat their customers better, also adding that he doesn’t think a Royal Commission would solve anything.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking to the media in Queenstown, New Zealand. Picture: Sky

DAYS after the Commonwealth Bank posted a record half-year profit, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected suggestions that the Australian banks should be denied a proposed corporate tax cut.

The Australian today reported that some Coalition MPs had called for the banks to be denied the government’s planned corporate tax cut, but speaking from Queenstown, New Zealand, the Prime Minister confirmed that this would not be happening.

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“A company tax rate has to go across all corporations. Distinguishing between one sector and another is not a practical measure,” he said.

The government hopes to cut the top corporate tax rate from 30 to 25 per cent by 2026.

Mr Turnbull’s comments come days after the Commonwealth Bank reported a record half-year profit of $4.9 billion.

Asked whether he had had discussions with Coalition MPs about exempting the banks from the tax cut the Prime Minister said the first he had heard of it was in the media this morning.

Anticipating electorate anger about banking profits, the Prime Minister said he understood the concerns about banking practices.

“We’re taking real action to ensure the banks treat their customers better and we’re taking action now,” he said.

“I can understand and I empathise with the reason many people want to call for a royal commission but the problem with the royal commission is that it will not actually result in any action. You would have years and years of very expensive inquiry and then you’d have a report with some recommendations. The recommendations would be, essentially, to do the things we’re doing now. We are setting up a one-stop-shop ombudsman that will be able to promptly and fairly settle disputes between customers particularly and banks. That’s clearly what’s needed.

“I have no doubt — if you had a royal commission, it would go on for years — it would make that recommendation. Let’s get on with it now. We are taking action now. We are looking after people now. That’s the big difference,” he said.

Asked about the future of the Trans Pacific Partnership in the wake of the USA’s withdrawal from the deal, Mr Turnbull said the goal of the TPP “was always to build it wider and wider”.

“The goal was always to bring more countries into it, including Indonesia, including ultimately China. As [New Zealand Prime Minister] Bill English said yesterday, I thought it was a good line, he said ‘We can’t get rich selling things to ourselves’. The answer is we are both very committed to free trade. There are two things that Australian business needs above all. You need big markets, open markets. The more the better,” he said.

The Prime Minister will return to Australia today.

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