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Thursday, 26 June 2008
Page: 3507

Senator COONAN (1:15 PM) —In speaking to this bill briefly, I indicate that the coalition will be supporting the Governance Review Implementation (AASB and AUASB) Bill 2008. It is technical in nature but it is very straightforward. It seeks to improve corporate governance in Australia. The bill will transfer the governance of the Australian Accounting Standards Board and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1996. The Uhrig review, which reported in 2003, identified issues with existing governance arrangements and set about identifying options to improve the performance to get the best long-term results from these statutory authorities. Comparing these two bodies against the Uhrig review templates shows that we would be better served with the AASB and the AUASB transferred to be under the authority of the Financial Management and Accountability Act. The measure is designed to improve existing accountability and governance arrangements while maintaining operational autonomy. The Financial Reporting Council will maintain the strategic oversight of both these boards. There will be no changes to the statutory functions performed by either of the agencies, other than to enhance the financial and administrative arrangements of the board, which includes consequential changes to the Financial Reporting Council functions in relation to the approval of finance and administrative matters.

The bill, like others debated in this non-controversial part of the order of the day, is essentially a continuation of the good work undertaken by the former Howard government on corporate governance reform, and we are very pleased to support this bill.