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Green paper: devil will be in the detail.



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Wed, 4th June 2008 GREEN PAPER: DEVIL WILL BE IN THE DETAIL

Michael Keenan MP Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Superannuation and Corporate Governance

Proposals are to direct even more responsibilities to ASIC - but will it be adequately resourced to improve Australia's regulatory credibility?

Shadow Minister for Corporate Governance, Michael Keenan MP, said with no direction as to the processes, the devil would be in the detail of the recommendations of the Government's Green Paper on Financial Services and Credit Reform.

''At this stage there is very little detail as to what the Government is actually proposing,'' Mr Keenan said. ''Therefore, the Opposition and industry stakeholders will be awaiting the recommendations in order to put them under the microscope.

''Although we should have the simplest regulatory regime possible, it is one thing to say that you want to improve and streamline regulation - and another thing to successfully go out and do that.

''And this includes what could be a complex and difficult negotiation with the states.''

Mr Keenan added one example where the Government had already got it wrong was in its treatment of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The Government has already back-flipped twice with regards to ASIC. First, over its plan to take $111 million from ASIC's budget and second over its merger with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Labor's Budget then cut ASIC's resources by making it responsible for the Financial Literacy Foundation - at a time when it is also undergoing important internal restructuring, for which it again received no additional funding.

Mr Keenan added: ''With the Green Paper proposing even more responsibilities for ASIC, can the Minister for Corporate Law guarantee it will be given the resources needed to improve Australia's regulatory credibility?

''It is extraordinarily hard for ASIC to do its job when it has no certainty about its operating conditions.''