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SYDNEY, June 23 (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday challenged a surprise decision by the state of South Australia to impose its own tax on banks, suggesting the move may hamper investment and drive down employment in the country's fifth biggest state.
"When a state imposes higher business taxes within its own jurisdiction, is that going to drive investment, support, jobs within that state or is in fact going to make it less competitive?" asked Turnbull when asked about the tax by reporters.
South Australia announced a tax worth a combined A$370 million ($279 million) on five major lenders in its budget on Thursday, generating opposition from the industry which incurred a new A$6.2 billion tax in the Federal budget last month.
$1 = 1.3256 Australian dollars Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates