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Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Page: 224

Mr ROBERT (FaddenAssistant Treasurer) (10:41): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2019provides a flexible legislative framework to modernise the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) registers and the Australian Business Register (ABR).

The government announced the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program in the 2018-19 budget. This program will shift the ABR and the ASIC business registers onto a single platform that will be administered by the Australian Business Registrar within the Australian Taxation Office.

To facilitate the implementation of a modernised registries platform, new legislation has been drafted that is flexible, technology neutral and governance neutral.

The legislation allows the minister to appoint a Commonwealth body to be registrar. Rather than having administrative requirements prescribed in primary legislation, the registrar is able to create standards and disclosure frameworks via legislative instruments to assist them in carrying out their registry functions and powers.

The data standards will allow the registrar to determine what and how information is collected and the manner in which it is maintained. The disclosure framework will be used to determine under what circumstance information is disclosed.

This bill also provides a legal framework for the introduction of director identification numbers, or DINs.

The DIN will be a unique identifier for any person who verifies their identity and consents to being a director. Directors will keep their DIN forever, even if their directorship with a particular company changes. This will allow tracking of a person's director profile over time and improve integrity by preventing the use of fictitious identities, which facilitates phoenixing and other fraudulent activity by people who set up companies for dishonest purposes.

DINs are being progressed as part of the Modernisation of Business Registers program to ensure that the DIN is integrated with other important registry data. This enables data to be linked and provides greater insights to regulators, businesses and individuals on the identity and affiliations of directors.

Full details of the measure are contained in the explanatory memorandum. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.