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  • Inter-Agency Phoenix Forum minutes - 8 September 2014

    Meeting details


    Video Conference - Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne & Sydney (ATO sites)




    8 September 2014








    Bruce Collins



    Contact and Secretariat:

    Kay Johnston

    Contact phone:

    (02) 6216 2710




    Australian Taxation Office

    • David Andersen
    • Michelle McQuay
    • Glen Vasta

    Australian Securities & Investments Commission

    Brett Bassett



    Department of Employment

    • Justin Bell

    Australian Taxation Office

    • Bruce Collins
    • Will Day
    • Jemima Walsh

    Department of the Environment

    • Matthew Dutkiewicz
    • Tim Francis

    Australian Business Register

    • John McAlister
    • John Madelly
    • Irma Briggs

    Clean Energy Regulator

    • Anthea Murphy



    State Revenue Office - Victoria

    • Christian Birke

    Fair Work Ombudsman

    • Anthony Fogarty

    Australian Taxation Office

    • Debbie Rawlings
    • Michael Seddon

    Australian Securities & Investments Commission

    • Joe Zubcic



    Fair Work Building & Construction

    • Peter Darlaston

    Migration Agents Registration Authority

    • Steve Ingram

    Australian Taxation Office

    • Peter Stephens



    Australian Taxation Office

    • Kay Johnston (Secretariat)

    Via phone


    Australian Taxation Office

    • Tim Fraser


    Office of State Revenue NSW

    Jim Ormiston

    Australian Taxation Office

    • Brett Martin
    • Michael Cranston


    • Lucy Kennedy
    • Don Bellino

    Department of Employment

    • Sue Saunders

    Australian Federal Police

    • Linda Champion

    Agenda items

    1. Action items from previous meetings

    • No action items to be addressed - all now closed.

    2. Phoenix Taskforce update (Bruce Collins - ATO)

    • Progressing at this point in time, next Executive Council is mid-October, signs are favourable.
    • Also interacts with Phoenix Watchlist regarding information sharing.

    3. Recent media (Bruce Collins and Brett Bassett)

    • Australian Financial Review article, Fairfax media and smartcompany reports around phoenix and broad strategies between ASIC, ATO & Fair Work B&C.
    • We need agreed messaging between agencies to expedite media content as it is often difficult to obtain clearances in the required timeframes to ensure whole of government approach is conveyed appropriately.
    • Responsibility - Jemima Walsh.

    4. Media strategy and Phoenix Communications Strategy update (Jemima Walsh - ATO)

    • Michelle McQuay dedicated ATO resource for phoenix
    • Aim is to refresh communications strategy (incl. media strategy) to provide co-ordinated approach.
    • Action Item – All – advise Michelle McQuay of effective media channels/forums etc used within each member agency (due 30/9/14)
    • We need to agree on what success looks like so that it can be branded as such.
    • We need specific deliverables we can talk about – identify amount of information exchanged between agencies – eg. Number of instances where information exchanged and high level data (not specifics) – resulting in number investigations or audits with demonstrable outcome.
    • Action Item – All – advise Kay Johnston (Secretariat) of instances of information exchanged, high level detail and demonstrable outcomes (due 30/9/14)
    • Peter Darlaston also spoke about material being provided by Fair Work Building & Construction with regard to investigation into alleged corruption in building industry – report due December 2014.
    • Responsibility - all agencies.

    5. ASIC Surveillance Campaign - Building & Construction industry (Joe Zubcic)

    • Head contractor round table discussions between ASIC, ATO & Fair Work Building & Construction – issue raised that false statutory declarations is an endemic issue.
    • ASIC coercive powers have been used to obtain information from head contractors – ASIC are auditing payment data
    • Action Item – Michael Seddon – contact Joe Zubcic to discuss utilising ATO coercive powers to obtain contractor data provided to ASIC
    • Michael Seddon advised that the next head contractor round table discussion is scheduled for October with ATO to organise (location Sydney as this is where most of the head contractors are located).
    • Responsibility - Michael Seddon.

    6. Operation Enola update (Tim Fraser - ATO - via phone)

    • Joint operation between ATO and ASIC looking at involvement of agents and liquidators in the facilitation of phoenix behaviour.

    7. ABR Phoenix Watchlist (John Madelly - ATO)

    • Looking to upload data during Christmas close period with data available January 2015.

    8. Commonwealth Games (David Andersen - ATO)

    • 2018 Gold Coast $2bn to be invested in the region with $500m to be spent on construction – 30,000 jobs to be created over 4 years
    • Gold Coast is a known area for phoenix activity
    • This is a real time strategy with the Pan Pac facility to be the first activity conducted
    • Item of concern is the fact that subcontractors are not required to advise of their credit history with regard to related entities only the entity where the contract is held.
    • Next site is Commonwealth Games Village – Parklands Southport
    • Issues may be identified with subcontractors further down the chain.

    9. Melbourne University (Michael Seddon - ATO)

    • Michael stated that a commercial interest in addressing the phoenix risk is welcome.
    • Melbourne University have received a three year grant and have recently interviewed ASIC as part of the preparation of their first paper.
    • We will be inviting Melbourne University to present their preliminary findings to the next IAPF meeting.

    10. Update from agencies


    • Evaluating strategy & refining further – what does success look like?
    • Major project work
    • New version of phoenix population (August 2014).


    • Priority amendment to FEG legislation - reduction in payout to 16 weeks all up.


    • Want to strengthen phoenix understanding and data management improvements.

    Clean Energy Regulator

    • Recent disclosure to ASIC for phoenix would not have happened without this forum
    • Found VEDA presentation useful.

    Australian Federal Police

    • Fraud & Corruption is the AFP one point of contact for this forum.

    Fair Work Building & Construction

    • Waiting on legislation from Senate to recreate ABCC.


    • Looking at pre-insolvency space – increase in facilitators in an unregulated space – business advisors/disbarred lawyers.

    SRO (VIC)

    • Looking at fruit growing, sham contracting in the mining industry, trust structures and labour hire
    • Developing a bulletin for security industry – working with Vicpol.

    Fair Work Ombudsman

    • Looking at horticulture, meat processing.

    11. Wrap up and close

    The details of the next meeting are tabled below.


    Mid February 2015



      Last modified: 14 Oct 2015QC 47093