Senate Economic References Committee - Opening Statement by ASIC Commissioner John Price
Commonwealth Registers Bill 2019 and 4 related bills [Provisions]
Opening statement by John Price, Commissioner, Australian Securities and Investments Commission at the Senate Economic References Committee, (Melbourne, Australia) 13 March 2019
ASIC welcomes this package of Bills, which together lay the foundation for a government registry regime that is modern, flexible, streamlined and user-friendly. The implementation of the new regime will substantially reduce the current risk of technology failure and deliver wide-ranging benefits to all users of the registry. Further, the introduction of a director identification number will assist ASIC and other regulators in the vital work of detecting, deterring and disrupting phoenix activity.
The existing ASIC registry is a complex and high-volume business, handling around 123 million searches, 3 million updates and 900,000 enquiries annually.
The current technology utilised by ASIC to maintain the registers is ageing and is not adequate to meet growing future demand. For the companies register, the technology is nearly 30 years old. Further, the statutory framework under which ASIC maintains the registers has not kept pace with developments in technology, restricting ASIC’s ability to collect and publish registry data, as well as communicate with registry customers, in a modern way.
Together these constraints make it difficult to:
- support, in a timely and cost-effective manner, the development of new types of registers or registry information (such as Director Identification Numbers);
- readily deliver enhancements to the integrity and value of registry data; and
- meet the needs of registry customers, who expect to be able to interact with government in a digital business environment.
ASIC views the program for modernising business registers as a valuable and significant opportunity to transition ASIC’s business registers to a modern platform, substantially decreasing the risk of technology failure, outages and disruptions and to reduce the complexity and cost for businesses interacting with the registry.
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