The Government has released exposure draft legislation to reduce the complexity of Australia’s corporations and financial services laws by making these laws more adaptive, efficient, and navigable within existing policy settings. Simplifying these laws will benefit industry and consumers and is critical to maintaining a strong financial sector.
The draft legislation:
- implements a further 2 recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in Interim Report A of its Inquiry into the Legislative Framework for Corporations and Financial Services Regulation relating to improving navigability and readability of the law, to:
- create a single glossary of defined terms in section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), and
- ‘unfreeze’ the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (AIA) as it applies to the Corporations Act and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 so the most current version of the AIA applies to both Acts.
- partially implements 3 recommendations from the ALRC’s Interim Report B to:
- repeal definitions that are no longer used, cross-references to repealed provisions and other redundant provisions
- amend the law to address unclear or incorrect provisions, and
- simplify unnecessarily complex provisions, with a particular focus on terms defined as having more than one meaning and definitions containing substantive obligations.
The legislation further builds on the amendments to simplify the corporations and financial services law contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernising Business Communications and Other Measures) Bill 2022, which Government introduced to Parliament on 23 November 2022.
The draft legislation supports the regulatory stewardship of Treasury portfolio legislation. The Government pursues regular improvement and maintenance opportunities under this Program to ensure Treasury laws remain current and fit-for-purpose.
The Government welcomes comments or feedback from stakeholders on the draft legislation and explanatory material.