1 October 2021
While individual FICA members have provided their own detailed submissions, and these highlight several specific issues relevant to their membership, the purpose of this submission is to outline the key areas of common agreement between FICA members and suggested next steps.
Topics covered include:
– Introduction of civil penalties
– Flexible remedies – Rebuttable presumption
– Flexible remedies – Injunctions
– Existing remedies available under the UCT regime
– Definition of Small Business and Monetary Value of Contracts
– Transitional provisions
ABA reiterates our view that there is significant potential economic benefit in the government’s digital identity initiative for consumers and businesses. The development of both government and private sector digital identity systems is needed to achieve wider adoption, and therefore realise the potential economic benefits of this government policy. That will continue to depend on whether the proposed legislative framework provides clarity, ensures robust privacy safeguards for users, provides flexibility to innovate and incentives to participate, while minimising the potential for conflicting or inconsistent data and privacy obligations for participants.
Currently, significant delay, financial costs and opportunity costs result from the need to sign and witness deeds and statutory declarations on paper; these costs also result from inconsistent and
uncertain regulations under Commonwealth, State and Territory laws.
The ABA strongly advocates for the reforms to remain technology neutral and provide a single, consistent approach to executing deeds and statutory declarations. Otherwise the reforms may make it
harder to use, and therefore disincentivise the use of, electronic execution.
• The eligibility requirements to trigger the safe harbour protections are too onerous and should be amended
• Use of the safe harbour should be made more cost effective
• The safe harbour regime would be improved by reducing complexity and providing more certainty in interpretation
• The safe harbour regime should provide for better incentives for the involvement of professional advisers
• Provide for advice to be obtained from a registered liquidator to ensure that it is appropriate
• Increase awareness of the safe harbour regime
• Any changes to the disclosure requirements for safe harbour should recognise that disclosure of the safe harbour restructuring plan is not appropriate in all circumstances
• Consider shifting the burden of proof to establish safe harbour defences to insolvent trading