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Cost of Living inquiry

20 March 2023

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes the opportunity to provide this submission to the Senate Select Committee on Cost of Living’s (Committee) inquiry into the cost of living pressures facing Australians, ways to ease the cost of living and the Government’s fiscal policy response (Inquiry). Banks are aware of the challenges Australians face in the current inflationary environment, which have arisen from a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, high household savings, pent-up demand, and global factors, including supply chain constraints and the war in Ukraine. To curb inflation, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), alongside other central banks globally, have responded by tightening monetary policy. The increases in the target cash rate have had flow-on effects to the cost of banking and living for Australian consumers.

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Crypto assets token mapping

20 March 2023

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes the Treasury’s consultation and the role that this initiative can play in developing a crypto regulatory regime in Australia. Regulation of crypto assets The Reserve Bank’s retail Central Bank Digital Currency trial highlights the potential for crypto assets to benefit the economy, with a role for banks, payments, financial markets and fintechs. The crypto assets market continues to grow. An estimated 25.6% of Australians own crypto assets,1 and the global cryptocurrency market rebounded to an estimated US$1.08 trillion in early 2023.

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Payment Times Reporting Act

3 March 2023

The ABA supports the policy objective that large businesses pay small businesses on time. Banks have taken a range of steps to support small business customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and following recent major natural disasters. As a relatively new reporting regime, the ABA considers there is room to improve the scheme to ensure greater efficiency while maintaining or improving its effectiveness.

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ASIC Investigation and Enforcement

28 February 2023

ABA notes that one of the considerations for ASIC ought to be the deployment of the best combination of enforcement tools that would bring about early resolution of matters in a way that would promote customer confidence. Unresolved issues which extend for many months are unhelpful to customer confidence. Additionally, extended resolution times can cause uncertainty within the industry as it awaits an outcome. We suggest EUs and Infringement Notices are particularly useful because they not only punish poor practices, but they also deliver speedier improvements to business practice and customer outcomes.

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National Reconstruction Fund: Corporation Bill

13 February 2023

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) broadly supports the intention of the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation Bill 2022 and the National Reconstruction Fund (Fund), which is expected to support and diversify Australia’s emerging industry sectors but has some concerns in relation to the Fund’s design and implementation, including the proposed priority areas, scope of the investment mandate and how these matters may impact on the crowding out of the private sector market that is otherwise willing and able to invest in these areas. It is noted that banks already invest in many of the priority areas proposed by the Government and investments in these areas would be better suited towards the beginning of their lifecycle where it is more difficult for banks to manage the risk profile. The ABA recommends it being a requirement of the investment mandate to consult with traditional private sector participants before making an investment by the Fund, such as via a panel of financiers. Government should assess the commerciality of each prospective investment and refer it to the private sector where it is sensible to do so from the perspective of return and/or risk appetite.

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National Reconstruction Fund: consultation paper

3 February 2023

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) supports the intent of the National Energy Performance Strategy. The ABA considers that enhancements to building codes and regulations, coupled with decarbonising the grid, can be an effective way to support improvements to energy performance. We also advocate for the provision of rebates, tax incentives and subsidies to support the adoption of energy efficiency technologies, particularly in relation to individuals from low-income households who may not have the capacity to fund energy efficiency upgrades.

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Housing Legislative Package

11 January 2023

The ABA supports the Housing Legislative Package and the establishment of the Housing Australia Future Fund as a mechanism to provide a sustainable funding source to support and increase the development of social and affordable housing. The Housing Legislative Package should also assist in alleviating critical affordable housing needs for frontline workers, older women on low incomes, family and domestic violence survivors and First Nations communities. Australian banks have worked closely with non-profits and Government over recent years to support the social housing sector. The ABA and banks offer to work closely with the Government and other key stakeholders during the development of the investment mandate for Housing Australia to ensure it aligns with the previous recommendations of the Statutory Review of the Operation of the NHFIC Act 2018, including those relating to ‘crowding-in’ financiers. The ABA also recommends that Government consider expanding the current appointments of the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council to include members with a strong banking or lending background.

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Property Law Act Review

15 December 2022

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes the opportunity to provide further feedback on the Queensland Government’s consultation on the Property Law Bill 2022 and Property Law Regulation 2023. The ABA supports some of the revisions to the latest draft of the Bill but remains of the view that flood history data should be contained within the seller’s disclosure statement, particularly in light of repeated flooding events across Australia. It also has concerns with directing prospective buyers to the FloodCheck Queensland and Australian Flood Risk Information portals, where information may be incomplete or incorrect, to understand the flooding history of a property.

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Review of the Reserve Bank of Australia

18 November 2022

The Australian Banking Association (‘ABA’) welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Review of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The ABA notes the significant role of Australia’s central bank in delivering good economic outcomes for the nation. We support the ongoing independence of the Reserve Bank of Australia in executing its mandate. The ABA’s responses to the panel’s questions in the Issues Paper (15 September 2022) raises these key points: - We consider the three objectives to be appropriate, noting there may be an opportunity to update the expression of the objectives in Section 10(2) of the Reserve Bank Act (1959). - We see opportunities for Reserve Bank of Australia (‘the RBA’ or ‘the Bank’) to augment its communications to explain the complexities underlying the decisions as well as greater explanation of the trade-offs made between the Bank’s objectives. - We see the independence of the RBA as critical to ensuring a well-functioning economy.

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Global agreement on Corporate Taxation

1 November 2022

Australian Banks support the intent of this global agreement to address the risks and leverage the opportunities arising from the digitalisation of the global and domestic economy. The ABA recommends that where possible, Australia’s implementation of the proposes measures should align with existing reporting and administrative requirements, and should be consistent with international approaches to ensure a streamlined and effective implementation.

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