As part of the 2020 Budget Digital Business Plan, the government announced the full implementation of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) Program. Legislation which enables the MBR program received Royal Assent on 22 June 2020.
The MBR Program will unify the Australian Business Register (ABR) and 31 business registers administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) onto a single platform. This platform will be administered by the Commonwealth Registrar (the Registrar) under legislation and as a separate statutory function of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The MBR Program will include the introduction of a director identification number (director ID) which is a unique identifier that a director will keep forever. The director ID will help prevent the appointment of fictitious directors and facilitate traceability of their profile and relationships with companies over time.
This consultation process focusses on the transitional periods that directors will have to apply for a director ID during the early stages of the director ID regime.
To ensure that the director ID system will provide a robust, reliable, and consistent user experience, it must be tested before the full population of directors are onboarded into the system. So that directors are not disadvantaged or in breach of the law, legislative instruments have been drafted that remove the need for directors to apply for a director ID in these early stages.
The legislative instruments provide directors appointed under the Corporations Act 2001 (the Corporations Act) the period between the end of testing and 30 November 2022 to obtain a director ID. This timeframe will apply for both existing directors who were appointed prior to the commencement of the Director ID regime and directors appointed during the testing phase.
Directors of indigenous corporations which are governed by the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (the CATSI Act) have separate obligations to apply for a director ID. The MBR Program plans to commence issuing director IDs to CATSI Act directors after the Corporations Act directors have been fully onboarded into the system. The timeframe for existing and newly appointed CATSI Act directors is from the end of the testing phase to 30 November 2023.
Consultation on the Director ID data standard and disclosure framework is also occurring until 1 April.