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  • Modernising Business Registers Business Advisory Group key messages 9 August 2022

    Welcome and introductions

    Chair, Acting Deputy Commissioner and Senior Accountable Officer Narda Phillips opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.

    No conflicts were declared.

    Program update

    Narda Phillips was introduced as the new Senior Accountable Officer for the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program and will be taking on the role of Chair for the Business Advisory Group (BAG). Narda thanked Michelle for time and commitment to the development of the program.

    The auto commencement law has been successfully deferred until 2026 (royal assent received 9 August 2022). The program is now in a re-planning stage, and Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) are working closely with Treasury and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

    Members thanked Michelle Crosby for her time as Senior Accountable Officer and her commitment to the program.

    An action item update was provided.

    Treasury update

    The Treasury are working closely with ASIC, the ATO and the Assistant Treasurer’s Office to consider issues affecting the delivery of the program. Treasury will continue to provide advice to government regarding the next steps for the program.

    On 27 July 2022, the Government introduced a legislative amendment to delay the automatic commencement date of the MBR program’s supporting legislation to 1 July 2026. This brings the legislative framework back in line with the registry system roll out. The legislation will apply retrospectively and ensure that actions taken in accordance with the law as of 21 June 2022 (prior to the previous auto commencement date of 22 June 2022) will be valid. Registrar’s instruments were put in place to mitigate risks during the interim period.

    Law and policy update

    The ABRS Law and Policy team has begun the process of repealing the transitional data standards and disclosure framework instruments which were registered in response to the MBR law auto-commencement.

    Members were thanked for their patience regarding the draft registration data standard and advised consultation with the BAG is expected to commence in the next month.

    Verne demonstration

    Joel Foster from Foster Moore provided a demonstration of the Verne product.

    Verne is a platform and has a set of capabilities and features that typically all registers need. There are a set of registry products that sit on top of the platform. The default product is configured using the registry toolset for client application (including process, policy and legislation) for a client and/or jurisdiction to customise.

    A live version of the Verne product can be viewed at CIPA External Link Search for Company or Business Name.

    A demonstration of ‘register a public company’ service was provided. Recent additions to the version shown include:

    • additional data being captured against person roles for contact details including email and phone number
    • agent appointment capability added in the registration
    • director ID and evidence of identity processes incorporated.

    Discussion included questions and feedback:

    • Will there be mandatory and optional fields, for example, option to include a landline telephone number? Assistant Commissioner, Jodie Stevenson advised that these specifications will be confirmed.
    • Will the history of changes made to the record will be safeguarded? It was confirmed a history will not be able to be altered and a history will be stored in the filing service of the platform.
    • Members noted it was very helpful to see the retail experience and the mature and capable workflows inherent in the product.
    • Members asked if there would be an opportunity to interact with the model, as this may provide feedback on potential usability issues? Narda Phillips advised this would be considered.

    Narda thanked members for their feedback and advised it will be considered.

    Director ID marketing and communications update

    A current focus on preparing communications that will be disseminated through ATO channels and key stakeholder networks. Public relations (PR) will focus on tax practitioners, small business, and culturally and linguistically diverse audience groups. Developing white label PR materials which will be distributed from September.

    Continuing to work on providing support to improve the client experience when applying for a director ID. This includes web content, frequently asked questions and a ‘how to’ video which will cover the myGovID and director ID process. Also, exploring options to provide additional support for individuals at the point of applying, including messaging via ATO online.

    Director, Alison Cone advised that the team are looking for further opportunities to promote director ID and are interested to hear from members if they can assist, including webinars, interviews, and presentations.

    Seeking assistance from members to disseminate a link to the ‘how to’ video to encourage people to apply digitally. Contact details along with any additional feedback can be sent directly to link opens in a new window

    It is recognised there will be a need for continued communications following the November deadline for director ID.

    Member feedback focused on the need to highlight the benefits of applying for director ID versus the consequences of not applying, to support take up.

    Acting Assistant Commissioner Tammy Gardner thanked members for their feedback and advised ABRS are working closely with ASIC regarding consequences for new directors that have not applied (penalties).

    Natasha Haslam from ASIC provided an update.

    ASIC is currently focused on undertaking external communication and awareness activities through social media and direct emails.

    Companies update

    Members were advised due to time constraints this item would be held over until a future meeting.

    Assistant Commissioner, Mary Arrowsmith advised that the current focus is on ensuring rigor around ABRS registration to support agents participating in the system. Targeted consultation regarding the compliance model (in the context of a deregulation agenda) is planned to be held in the future.

    Wrap up and close

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

    Meeting closed at 11:55am.

      Last modified: 25 Aug 2022QC 70258