House of Representatives

Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2019

Second Reading Speech

Mr SUKKAR (Deakin - Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill will amend the Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2019 to introduce a single business register that will fundamentally improve and streamline how businesses engage with government.

The government announced the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program in the 2018-19 budget, which includes the introduction of a director identification number, more colloquially known as a DIN.

This flexible legislative framework will modernise the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) business registers and the Australian Business Register (ABR) and will integrate the 32 existing business registers onto one platform to be administered by the Australian Business Registrar.

To facilitate the implementation of a modernised registry system, new legislation has been drafted that is technology neutral and governance neutral.

The legislation allows for the minister of the day to appoint a Commonwealth body to be registrar. Rather than having administrative requirements prescribed in primary legislation, the 'registrar' is able to create data standards and disclosure frameworks via legislative instruments to assist them in carrying out their registry functions and powers.

The data standards will allow the registrar to determine what and how information is collected and the manner in which it is maintained. The disclosure frameworks will be used to determine under what circumstances information is disclosed.

This bill also provides, as I said, a legal framework for the introduction of DINs.

The DIN is a unique identifier that a director will keep forever, meaning it will provide traceability of a director's profile and relationships across companies and over time. This will provide greater insights to regulators, businesses and individuals on the identity and affiliations of directors and prevent the use of fictitious identities.

DINs are being appropriately progressed as part of the MBR program to ensure that they are integrated with other important registry information. This enables critical data to be linked on the platform, which is key to the success of the DIN.

Full details of the measure are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

Debate adjourned.