Legislation to modernise business registers and introduce Director Identification Numbers released for consultation

The Government released draft legislation today to allow the modernisation of business registers and to provide better support for businesses in an evolving digital economy.

“Modernising the business registers will help transform the way business interacts with government, making it easier and faster to start and run a business. These reforms will support open data and encourage innovative uses of business data,” Assistant Treasurer the Hon Stuart Robert MP said.

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

This legislation will also progress Director Identification Numbers (DINs) by introducing a legal framework for the regime. The DIN is a unique identifier and provides traceability of a director’s relationships across companies and over time to assist regulators and external administrators investigate a director’s involvement in what may be unlawful activity, including illegal phoenix activity which has been a perennial problem for successive governments.

“The Government is committed to detecting, deterring and disrupting illegal phoenix activity for the benefit of all Australians,” Mr Robert said.

The current legislative framework that covers ASIC’s business registers has not kept up with digital technology and restricts ASIC’s ability to interact with clients in their preferred manner. 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.

The legislation will be consulted on in two parts. The first part being released today includes the core provisions that facilitate a modern government registry regime plus the bulk of the referrals of functions and consequential changes from other Acts. The second includes the remainder of the referrals of functions and consequential changes. The second part of the draft legislation will be released for consultation shortly.

Stakeholders are invited to view the draft legislation and lodge submissions via the Treasury website by 26 October 2018.

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