Terms of reference

Fraudulent phoenix activity has a detrimental effect upon the whole community, the environment and the regulatory effectiveness of government agencies. Phoenix activity affects employees (superannuation and other entitlements), businesses (unfair advantage), government (monitoring and enforcement costs) and the environment (avoidance of regulatory obligations). Finally, it affects the revenue of Australia.

We believe there are benefits in bringing together key government agencies to identify, design and implement cross-agency strategies to reduce and deter fraudulent phoenix activity.

The Inter-Agency Phoenix Forum will also assist in delivering a government commitment to address fraudulent phoenix activity, particularly from 2011-15. The forum will share intelligence in a more timely manner, and agencies will focus jointly on the worst phoenix operators.

The forum has two broad roles:

Intelligence advisory role

Review appropriate intelligence reports from agencies and ensure all agencies harvest available intelligence.

Strategic oversight advisory role

  • Promote cross-agency collaboration in intelligence activities for early identification of fraudulent phoenix activity to improve business outcomes.
  • Improve cross-agency understanding of agency powers and constraints, minimising inefficiencies between agencies.
  • Monitor health of cross-agency referral pipelines.
  • Coordinate associated cross-agency communication opportunities.
  • Encourage creative and collaborative management of phoenix cases, supporting the best mix of treatments across agencies.
  • Work collaboratively to achieve compliance outcomes.
  • Provide strategic direction on ways to achieve cross-agency business outcomes while recognising risks to individual agency accountabilities.
  • Encourage staff in each agency to work collaboratively- to the extent that this is permitted under existing laws.
  • Identify areas where current legislation is not achieving its intent and liaise with Treasury, as appropriate.

Governance and relationships with other forums

The scope of the forum relates to the roles and responsibilities outlined above, but excludes directing other agency staff in exercising operational decision making.

Agencies retain accountability for the performance of duties for a proper purpose and in accordance with powers and duties specified in their legal frameworks.

The forum will provide:

  • assurance (generally every four months) that cross-agency activities are progressing as planned and focus on achieving strategic phoenix outcomes
  • regular intelligence reports outlining how the collective efforts of member agencies are addressing the phoenix issue
  • early warning through enhanced communications on any emerging issues affecting cross-agency efforts to address fraudulent phoenix activity in both the short and long-term, and recommend and implement breakthrough strategies.
    Last modified: 25 Sep 2014QC 25800