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  • Modernising Business Registers Business Advisory Group key messages 22 February 2022

    Welcome and introductions

    Chair, Assistant Commissioner Georgina Wade opened the meeting and welcomed attendees. No conflicts of interest were declared.

    The group noted Coralie Kenny's departure as representative for the Law Council of Australia and thanked her for her contribution. Bruce Collins was welcomed as the new representative

    Hayden Sheehan from Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) was thanked for his contribution and Maura Barreto was welcomed as the new representative.

    An action item update was provided.

    Program update

    Georgina Wade provided a program update. The key points discussed:

    • The 2022 Gateway Review is scheduled for the week of 28 March 2022.
    • A number of out of session focus groups have been held and continue to be scheduled. These are tracked in the Business Advisory Group (BAG) timeline document and is included as a paper for noting.
    • An expression of interest for BAG membership will be issued today. Responses are due back, close of business, Friday 4 March 2022.

    Treasury update

    Kate Penney provided an update on the registry fees consultation.

    Treasury has conducted consultations on business registers since 2017. A paper was released late last year seeking additional views on registry fees. The paper considered a range of fees.

    Kate thanked members for their responses and indicated they were consistent with earlier feedback received in 2018:

    • broad support for a late and life cycle fee regime, and continued support for further reductions/removal of registry search
    • diverse range of views on infrastructure fees.

    These recommendations will be provided to Government for consideration.

    Director ID update

    Assistant Commissioner, Martin Jacobs provided an update on director ID public beta. Members were thanked for their support as we transition into public beta.

    There is a focus on raising awareness and education about director ID requirements.

    Director, Michael Flynn provided an update on public beta:

    • there has been a strong initial uptake of director ID, however there is a challenge ahead regarding the onboarding of some 2.7 million directors by November 2022
    • there has been a lower level of awareness amongst the new director cohort
      • those appointed between 28 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 have 28 days to apply
      • those appointed from 5 April must apply before their appointment.

    Member feedback included:

    • confusion around the dates and timeframes in the director ID processes
    • there is often a partnership between individuals and agents regarding proof of record ownership documentation, as it is often with the agent
    • share white paper communication packs.

    Companies update

    Senior Accountable Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Michelle Crosby provided an update on the Companies release.

    The Companies release’s design is based on information that has changed over time, and 30-year-old legislation has resulted in a complex environment. Noting our timeframe, we are aiming to have the design and majority of the build completed by September 2022.

    Director, Eleanor Beer advised there is a large scope for the Companies release. Key points include:

    • transitioning company registers to Australian Business Registry Service(ABRS) online, with some forms remaining with ASIC regulatory
    • the Companies release will impact both the ASIC services and the Australian Business Register
    • developing a combined registry experience and designing a new agent model
    • opportunity to remove paper forms and wet signatures.

    An overview of the company touchpoints across the ABRS lifecycle was discussed. Using a 'commercial off the shelf' product provides out of the box functionality. This makes it more efficient to deliver and provides consistency but means there is limited customisation.

    Director, Tim Matthews provided an overview of the forms to services work. Key points discussed:

    • current focus on reviewing and transitioning ABR and ASIC registry forms into Verne business services and/or wholesale application program interface (APIs)
    • forms can transition from many-to-one, or one-to-many (that is, a complex form required to be broken into components).

    Members noted form numbers are embedded in existing industry processes and transitioning to services will result in a significant change for the industry. Benefits of form numbers are that they are short and precise. It was suggested that co-design will be required to avoid becoming unnecessarily complicated.

    Michelle Crosby noted this as important feedback, and that change management will be involved.

    Eleanor Beer provided an update on the ABRS agent model information session held 14 February. She advised members that engagement will continue throughout the year. A summary will be distributed for member’s review.

    Act on behalf

    Director, Doug Wickham provided an update on work concerning ‘acting on behalf of individuals’ in the register.

    Previous consultation on linking director ID design raised the question:

    • What is the agent’s role to update an individual registry record (IRR) and being able to act on behalf of or for that individual?

    Doug Wickham advised following feedback from members and consultation with ABRS executive, the ability for agents to access and update details on the IRR will be included. Doug noted this will not be available as part of the Companies release however they are working to ensure this design can occur.

    A member representing the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, noted they reject the design proposal that the agent’s consent model will not be included in the modernising business register Companies tranche and requested this be recorded in the minutes.

    Michelle Crosby noted this and advised members that this is currently not in scope for the September 2023 release.

    API risk ratings

    Director, Kylie Johnston provided an update on the API risk ratings. The API risk ratings have been recently updated to incorporate the different language being used with businesses and the modernising business register program of work.

    Wrap and close

    Georgina Wade thanked members and attendees for their contributions.

    The Digital Working Group outcomes from 9 February 2022 meeting will be shared with members when available.

      Last modified: 06 Apr 2022QC 69200