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  • Modernising Business Registers Business Advisory Group key messages 3 November 2022

    Summary of key topics discussed at the Modernising Business Registers Business Advisory Group meeting 3 November 2022.

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    Welcome and introductions

    Assistant Commissioner Mary Arrowsmith opened the meeting and welcomed attendees. No conflicts were declared.

    Budget update

    Chair, Deputy Commissioner and Senior Accountable Officer Narda Phillips presented an update on the October budget outcomes for the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program.

    Members were referred to Budget Paper No. 2 (2022–23)External Link page 190, notes that the MBR program is funded for the 2022–23 financial year. A request for further funding to cover the remainder of the program will be considered for the May 2023 budget.

    This is a good outcome for the program and will allows us to focus this year on the complexities and delivery of the program and commence consultation on the delivery of the companies release.

    There will be a focus on finding the best approach to minimising risk not only to delivery, but also the environment, business and the economy.

    A consultation plan is currently under development, noting the constricted timeframes for consultation to occur (with December and January months traditionally being quieter). This will include working closely with the MBR Business Advisory Group, MBR Design Working Group, and other working groups and forums to consult on Companies release schedule and timing. Early thinking on timeframes is being worked through with consideration being given to what else is occurring in the broader environment.

    Treasury update

    Treasury offered to provide details on the financial outcomes of the budget:

    • $166.2 million in total over the forward estimates
      • $80 million in 2022–23 to
        • continue delivery of the program.
        • continue work to achieve better certainty of the cost of the remainder of the program to bring back to government in a future budget round
        • accelerate design work of the companies register and bring forward design work on the Professional and Historical registers.
      • $86.2 million over 4 years to
        • operate and regulate the director ID regime
        • stabilise the Australian Securities and Investments Commission registry systems for the period remaining in the program.

    Current areas of focus include:

    • continuing to work with government on the future of fees associated with the MBR program
    • supporting subordinate legislation for the program.

    Member feedback

    • Request to be included in consultation opportunities as early as possible to provide input into thinking.
    • Suggestion to hold feasibility conversation from an operational perspective with intermediaries about how processes might change (with consideration to timeframes and constraints), before opening up to wider public consultation.

    Members were thanked for their feedback.

    Program update

    Action item update

    Mary Arrowsmith provided an action item update:

    BAG-78 (ABRS agents’ compliance model)

    In progress – Preliminary work will commence shortly now we are post budget.

    BAG-79 (October budget announcement)

    An update was issued to MBR Business Advisory Group members via email following the October Budget announcement. To be closed.

    2022–23 Companies release focus

    Assistant Commissioner Mary Arrowsmith presented an update on the Companies release focus for 2022–23.

    Discussion of the key focus areas for 2022–23 include:

    • the implementation strategy and consulting on timing – focusing on companies
    • understanding the impacts and support needed for key intermediary groups and digital service providers
    • consultation with MBR Business Advisory Group and Design Working Group members
    • continue with usability testing, members were thanked for their ongoing support
    • commence internal testing on several integration points with Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) and ATO systems (horizontal slice – register a public company)
    • progress the ABRS agent model consultation.

    The companies functionality will be placed on the ABRS platform, the same platform where director ID is located. This system is live but does not currently connect with a financial system or correspondence generation. The ‘horizontal slice’ approach will include undertaking testing on integration points with ABRS and ATO systems in a test environment to build confidence and support integration for the companies release.

    To support awareness, members were advised that 6 application programming interfaces (APIs) that have been shared with the MBR Design Working Group and noted valuable feedback has been received from digital service providers (DSPs) and taken into consideration.

    Member feedback

    • Reports received of issues being experienced with the current companies register freezing (i.e. document filing). Further detail will be provided to support investigation.
    • The draft legislation, Strengthening the ABN systemExternal Link was recently tabled for consultation and helps facilitate where we are going with the MBR program. It was discussed this will support currency of information maintained on the register.
    • A suggestion of transitioning all ABNs in one release was discussed. To support de-risking, it is unlikely that the ABR and companies release would occur at the same time.
    • Regarding the Strengthening the ABN system draft, there is an opportunity to ask on application by the corporate entity, that the entities directors have a director ID.

    Members were thanked for their input.

    Director ID update

    Director ID onboarding is progressing well with an increased focus on those that are yet to apply by the 30 November 2022 deadline. An advertising and communication campaign was launched on 19 October 2022, with daily director ID applications increasing. To date, approximately 1.2 million director IDs have been issued (out of an expected 2.5 million directors).

    To support the director ID application process:

    • We are increasing staff numbers in the contact centre to support director ID.
    • Are keeping a continued focus on encouraging digital applications.
    • A recent change has been made to identity proofing 3 level controls for strong myGovID which makes it easier for directors to apply if they have this level. The ‘how to video’ has been updated to include what it means now if you use the strong myGovID proof of record ownership process. This will not be a permanent feature of director ID but is supporting the application process during this time.

    System maintenance requirements for ABRS and integrated ATO systems will occur over the weekend of 5–6 November, and again later in the month. Systems will be unavailable during these times. We appreciate the inconvenience this may cause and are taking steps to notify the public via social media channels and the ABRS website. There will be an option for people to apply for an extension of time during maintenance periods where systems are unavailable.

    Marketing and communication

    The objective of the current advertising and communication campaign is to build awareness for director ID including what it is, why it is needed, and how to apply. Encouraging target audiences to apply for their director ID before the 30 November deadline is also a key focus. Elements of the campaign include:

    • digital displays in retail and transport hubs (train stations and airports)
    • social media messaging and digital videos (Facebook and LinkedIn)
    • public relations messaging in print media and outreach events for indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities
    • media partnership with Nine network includes publication of news articles, including an interview with Deputy Registrar, Karen Foat
    • messaging via ATO channels.

    Advertising examples from the campaign were shared with members including advertising and campaign imagery used in CALD and indigenous press. Messaging has been tailored for various audience groups including directors who fall within the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 provisions and have an additional 12 months to apply.


    A director ID determination for corporate directors and directors, who have ceased to hold any role as a director before 1 December 2022 has been considered with legislative instruments expected to be released for public consultation for a period of approximately 4 weeks, due to commence mid-November.

    A director ID determination would exclude certain people from being an ‘eligible officer’ meaning they would not be required to apply for a director ID. This change has been made in response to feedback received about those corporate directors that have ceased to be a director ahead on 30 November.

    Member feedback

    • Unlikely that all directors will have applied for a director ID by 30 November 2022 and need to consider extension of time.
    • The draft legislation is required and will assist with addressing issues raised.
    • Consideration of instances where people cannot meet the obligation. The option to apply for an extension of time is available.

    Wrap and close

    Narda Phillips thanked members, presenters, and attendees for their contributions.

    Meeting closed at 11:35am.

      Last modified: 28 Nov 2022QC 70983