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Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Page: 5807

Mr BOWEN (Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, and Assistant Treasurer) (8:10 PM) —I would like to take this opportunity to thank the member for Stirling and the member for Blair for their contributions. It is fair to say that the Governance Review Implementation (AASB and AUASB) Bill 2008 is not the most exciting bill that has ever been before the House. It is, nevertheless, very important. I am sure that all honourable members would agree that corporate governance is a particularly important matter.

The Australian Accounting Standards Board, or the AASB, and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, or the AUASB, both play a vital role in promoting the integrity of Australia’s financial reporting and auditing framework. The new financial management framework will improve both boards’ existing governance arrangements by bringing them under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997—the FMA Act. The FMA Act will ensure that both boards are directly responsible to parliament. In addition, the new arrangements will allow the Financial Reporting Council, which is the statutory body responsible for strategic oversight, to focus on setting the strategic direction of the boards rather than approving administrative and financial matters. The bill will also improve consistency in relation to other government bodies by bringing boards into line with similar amendments made to other bodies. In summary, this bill will enhance the governance arrangements of the AASB and the AUASB. This will, in turn, improve the efficiency of the accounting and auditing standards process, which will deliver benefits to the business and wider community. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.