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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13707

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayParliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (10:33): I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those members who have contributed to the debate, particularly those who are still in the chamber—the member for Chifley and also the member for Canberra. I note that the House always welcomes the opportunity to hear from the member for Canberra because she is someone who not only has a strong commitment to small business but also brings to this debate the insights that one would expect from someone who has run and owned her own small business. This comes through in the quality of the insights that she is always able to provide.

This bill supports a package of three bills, already passed by the parliament, which establish a National Business Names Registration System. The bill makes some small technical changes concerning the application of consequential amendments to 10 Commonwealth acts. However, it is part of a much larger initiative being implemented under the Council of Australian Governments seamless national economy reform agenda.

Fragmented and inconsistent regulation across Australia makes it harder to do business and adds to the compliance burden for business. The existing approach to registering business names reflects this. A National Business Names Registration System will make a practical difference for businesses right around Australia.

Businesses using a trading name and operating across state and territory boundaries will no longer have to register a business name in every state and territory they operate in. Businesses operating in only one state or territory will also benefit, with a three-year registration fee of around $70, compared to fees of $160 for a new registration in New South Wales and $255.60 in Queensland. All businesses using a trading name will also benefit from the streamlined online business name application process, which will make applying for a business name a faster and easier process.

Combined with related initiatives such as the Australian Business Licence Information Service and the Australian business account, the National Business Names Registration System is estimated to provide benefits of $1.5 billion over eight years to business, government and consumers. The Australian Business Licence Information Service, a new whole-of-government online service, will deliver information about licences, registrations, permits and assistance to business from all levels of government. Such customised information about regulatory requirements will simplify the process of starting a business and save existing businesses valuable time. The Australian business account will be an online account for managing ongoing business interactions with all levels of government. The account will help businesses take control of their regulatory activities online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and save time through prefilling and submitting forms online where available. Businesses will be able to access key registrations, monitor their compliance requirements and subscribe to regulatory change notifications, business development opportunities and other important information.

The states must enact referral legislation to give effect to the national business names registration system, and so far referral legislation has been passed by the parliaments of Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland. Legislation is also currently before the Victorian parliament, with South Australia and Western Australia set to introduce legislation shortly.

All jurisdictions have worked hard to deliver a national business names registration system, and the Australian government would like to take this opportunity to thank state and territory governments and their officials for their commitment to this important reform. Depending on the passage of referral legislation through remaining state parliaments, the national system will start at the end of May 2012. Once it is operational, I know businesses across Australia will appreciate the time and money saved by this important reform.

I thank members of the contributions they have made to this debate on the Business Names Registration (Application of Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011 and I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.