In a Budget that focusses on fiscal policies and tax changes, there are a number of references to issues related to financial services regulation.

Digital Business

The Government’s Digital Business Plan is intended to improve productivity, income growth and jobs by supporting the adoption of digital technologies by Australian businesses.

Measures to reduce regulatory barriers include:

• continued implementation of the Consumer Data Right

• delivery of a Regtech Commercialisation Initiative to streamline Government administration and simplify regulatory compliance

• enhanced support for Australian fintech start-ups to gain a foothold in international markets and to encourage foreign investment and job creation in Australia

• industry-led pilots to demonstrate the application of blockchain technology to reduce regulatory compliance costs and encourage broader take up of blockchain by Australian businesses

• strengthening Australia’s role in international standard-setting and support businesses to apply these standards

• undertaking public consultation on making permanent changes to the Corporations Act 2001 that would allow companies to call and conduct meetings electronically with a quorum achievable through virtual attendance of shareholders and officers and provide certainty that company officers can electronically execute a document

• implementing reforms to the regulatory arrangements for stored value facilities

• reviewing the regulatory architecture applying to the payments system to ensure it remains fit for purpose and is capable of supporting continued innovation for the benefit both businesses and consumers;.

Source: Page 65, Budget Measures Budget Paper No. 2, 2020–21

Insolvency reforms to support small business

The government’s budget fact sheet provides details of the previously announced changes. It says consultation will be undertaken on the appropriateness of permanently raising the minimum threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company (under COVID-19 relief measures, this threshold has been temporarily raised from $2,000 to $20,000 until 31 December 2020).

An exposure draft Bill has been released for comment.

Superannuation Reform

Proposed superannuation changes include:

  • An existing superannuation account will be ‘stapled’ to a member to avoid the creation of a new account when that person changes their employment. Future enhancements will enable payroll software developers to build systems to simplify the process of selecting a superannuation product for both employees and employers through automated provision of information to employers;
  • improved transparency and accountability of superannuation funds by strengthening obligations on superannuation trustees to ensure their actions are consistent with members’ retirement savings being maximised.

Source: p165 Budget Measures Budget Paper No. 2, 2020–21

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Author: David Jacobson

Principal, Bright Corporate Law

Email: djacobson@brightlaw.com.au

About David Jacobson

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.

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