On 29 November 2009 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to progress the reforms contained in the National Partnership Agreement to deliver a Seamless National Economy (SNENP). One of the 27 deregulation priorities is the directors' liability reform project.
The project aims to harmonise the imposition of personal criminal liability for corporate fault across Australian jurisdictions. This project came about because of growing concern over a trend in regulatory legislation across Australia to hold company officers criminally liable when their company breaches a statutory requirement (derivative liability).
On 27 January 2012, The Hon David Bradbury MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer announced the release of an exposure draft of the Personal Liability for Corporate Fault Reform Bill 2012, which constitutes the first tranche of proposed amendments to Commonwealth directors' liability legislation. This Bill covers Treasury (non-taxation) legislation. As such, it makes amendments to the Corporations Act 2001, Insurance Contracts Act 1984, Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 and the Pooled Development Finds Act 1992.
A second draft bill, encompassing all proposed amendments to Commonwealth legislation will be exposed in February/March 2012.