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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 2899

Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations) (11:43): I thank those senators who took part in the debate on the Corporations Amendment (Phoenixing and Other Measures) Bill 2012. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the stakeholders for their contributions at the various stages. This bill delivers on the Gillard government's protecting workers' entitlements package, its election comĀ­mitments and part of its insolvency reform package, announced on 14 December 2011. There is no rush or surprise in any of it. The bill strengthens ASIC's powers to place into liquidation companies that have been abandoned by their directors. It will benefit the employees of those abandoned companies by enabling quicker access to their unpaid entitlements through the government's employee assistance scheme. The bill also paves the way for a more streamlined and cost-effective process involving the publication of insolvency notices via a single, publicly available website. This will benefit creditors of companies in external administration by reducing the cost of complying with these regulatory obligations and making it easier for creditors to keep track of information about companies in external administration. The bill, as Senator Marshall said, also contains some miscellaneous amendments in relation to paid parental leave and the powers of the court in relation to company reinstatements.

In conclusion, this bill will ensure that ASIC can step in to wind up a company to ensure that employees receive quicker access to their entitlements from the government's employee assistance scheme. By imposing a requirement on insolvency practitioners to inform FaHCSIA of their appointment, the bill will ensure FaHCSIA becomes aware when a company goes into external administration, so as to allow it to take over responsibility for paying employees under the Paid Parental Leave scheme. The bill also implements an important part of the government's insolvency reform package by facilitating the establishment of a single, insolvency notices website. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.