Socialist candidate says fight private bank rip-offs

Socialist Alliance candidate Liam Flenady.

Socialist Alliance candidate Liam Flenady, who will run in the March 24 Queensland state election, announced the party's key policy pledge on February 4.

The policy said: “Set up a new Queensland State Bank: Provide low-interest loans to householders, farmers and small business. Stop the private banks ripping off the community.”

Flenady said: “The recent moves by Westpac, ANZ and Suncorp to sack bank staff and shift jobs offshore underlines the urgent need for the re-establishment of government-owned banks to take on the private corporations, protect employment and provide banking services to the community at reasonable rates.”

Westpac said on February 2 that it planned to axe at least 400 jobs and move about 150 offshore. Last month, Suncorp announced 77 jobs would go offshore and ANZ Banking Group said 131 workers would be sacked.

Westpac made a record profit of almost $7 billion in the 2011 financial year. The other big banks have announced similar huge profits.

Finance Sector Union national secretary Leon Carter said the union feared more cuts at Westpac were on the cards. Carter said the bank's overall standard of customer service would drop.

He said: “Westpac continues to make a multimillion dollar profit and has the capacity, and we say the obligation, to invest in and protect Australian jobs — not continue to sacrifice them on the altar of profits.”

Flenady said: “Australian banks continue to make huge profits while the world economy is in tatters.

“It is a scandal they continue to sack staff while making such huge profits at the expense of Australian workers and consumers.

“Ever since the Commonwealth Bank was privatised by the Hawke-Keating Labor government and Suncorp was sold off in Queensland, the private banks have been running amok with the finances of working people in this state and around the country. Now is the time to say: Enough is enough.

“Socialist Alliance calls for a reversal of the privatisation tide right now in Queensland. Let’s set up a new Queensland State Bank, under the management of workers and consumers, to begin the process of taking back the people's assets, and combating the power and wealth of the corporate banking and financial sector.”

[For more information on the Socialist Alliance Queensland election campaign, contact 07 3831 2644, 0423 741 734, or visit the website.]

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