Stuart Robert, Assistant Treasurer

Business register reform moves to next stage

The government has released the next part of its draft legislation to modernise its business registers and provide better support for small businesses.

Under the legislation, legal registers administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Business Register will be moved to a modern registry platform, and administered by the Australian Business Registrar within the Australian Taxation Office.

Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert said the current framework hasn’t kept up with digital technology and restricts ASIC’s ability to interact with clients in their preferred manner.

He said that, for example, legislation has not been modernised in relation to what information to collect, how to collect it and then how to notify regulated entities.

“This consultation is another important step in improving existing business registry services to make it easier for businesses to transact with government,” Mr Robert said.

“We are inviting comment on the second part of the legislation dealing with the remainder of the referrals of functions and consequential changes of our reforms.

“The government is also pleased to release a revised draft explanatory memorandum, which includes the additional amendments.”

Earlier this month, the government released the first part of the draft legislation, which included the:

  • core provisions that facilitate a modern government registry regime;
  • majority of the referrals of functions and consequential changes from other acts; and
  • introduction of a legal framework for the Director Identification Numbers regime.

In July, Institute of Public Accountants chief executive Andrew Conway said the government’s moves towards reforming the ABN system will address its current deficiencies and provide greater system integrity.

While he applauded a simple and efficient ABN system, he also added there aren’t enough checks and balances to ensure the registration of an ABN is appropriate or not.

“When the ABN system was introduced in 2000, it was supposed to hinder the black economy by strengthening the integrity of the tax system but that has simply not been the case,” Mr Conway said.

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