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Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Page: 221

Mr ROBERT ( Fadden Assistant Treasurer ) ( 10:32 ): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill amends the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (GST Act) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Taxation Act) to combat illegal phoenix activity.

Illegal phoenixing involves the stripping and transfer of assets from one company to another by individuals or entities to avoid paying liabilities. It has been a problem over many decades.

This bill will give our regulators additional enforcement and regulatory tools to better detect and address illegal phoenix activity and to prosecute or penalise directors and others who facilitate this illegal activity, such as unscrupulous pre-insolvency advisers.

To support these reforms, the government will also provide an additional $8.7 million over four years from the 2018-19 financial year to increase funding for the Assetless Administration Fund. This additional funding will increase ASIC's ability to fund liquidators who play a vital role in investigating and reporting illegal phoenix activity.

The bill also makes minor amendments to the government's already legislated insolvency reforms which form part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. These amendments will ensure that these important reforms operate as intended.

Full details of the measures are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.