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Innovation measures

Innovation in the financial sector is always transforming the financial system and this is likely to continue. New payment methods, innovative funding sources, better use of customer information and deeper cross-border linkages promise enormous opportunities, if properly harnessed. Our policy settings must facilitate entry of these disrupters rather than acting as a blockage.

The development of a crowd sourced equity funding market in Australia is an urgent priority for the Government to support the funding needs of early stage innovators. We will consult on draft legislation to implement this framework before the end of 2015.

We are also already working on proposals in the areas of trusted digital identities, the Asia Region Funds Passport and ‘simple’ corporate bonds.

We will establish a public-private Innovation Collaboration Committee to give innovation champions a direct voice to contribute to the development of policy. We will develop a plan to ensure that our laws and regulations are technology-neutral. When implemented, this will have a major deregulatory impact.

We will increase the efficiency of the payments system and ensure it achieves fairer outcomes for consumers, merchants and system providers by phasing in a legislated ban on excessive card surcharges. The ACCC will be responsible for enforcing these rules.

The Payments System Board will pursue policies to address problems with interchange fees and provide clarity around what constitutes excessive customer surcharges on card payments. The Payments System Board released a consultation paper on these issues in March.

By better using available data firms can identify new opportunities, develop innovative products and lower costs. We will task the Productivity Commission to examine the scope to broaden access to, and use of, data. We support current industry efforts to expand data sharing under the new comprehensive credit reporting regime rather than through legislation.

We will examine how best to foster the growth of impact investment in Australia to support private and for-profit investment funds being directed to projects with a social or environmental purpose.

Specific measures:

To date:
Passed legislation to extend the period before unclaimed banking monies in the banking and insurance sector are captured from three to seven years.
By end-2015:
Consult on legislation to support crowd-sourced equity funding. Consult on crowd-sourced debt financing. Task the Productivity Commission to review access to and the use of data.
By mid-2016:
Develop legislation to ban excessive card surcharges and better protect consumers using electronic payment systems. Develop legislation to reduce disclosure requirements for issuers of ‘simple’ corporate bonds. Establish the Innovation Collaboration Committee.
By end-2016:
Give legal effect to the Asian Region Funds Passport initiative. Consider technology neutrality in financial sector regulation.
Beyond 2016:
Facilitate rationalisation of life insurance and managed investment scheme legacy products.