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Modernising Business Communications (legislation package)

24 January 2022

The banking industry remains supportive of the intent of the proposed changes and provides a range of suggestions to enhance the Bill's clarity, while ensuring the provisions are future proof and enable beneficial and workable flexibility in the ways customers receive communications from their credit providers.

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Improving the technology neutrality of Treasury portfolio laws

13 December 2021

The ABA remains very supportive of the Treasury’s ongoing efforts to improve the technology neutrality of the Treasury portfolio and look forward to further engagement on this, and subsequent, tranches of legislative change. Industry’s main comments regard allowing: • (under National Credit Code (NCC)) the ‘publish and notify’ and ‘in any other way agreed to’ methods of communications which are permitted under the Corporations Act; • more than one address to be used at any given time, which may be appropriate depending on the type of communications; and, • communications via secure portals instead of an email address, as securely housing certain notifications and communications within the credit providers (CP) information system, where it can be retrieved by customers after appropriate authentication, better balances the need for accessibility, security and technology neutrality.

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Digital Identity Legislation

27 October 2021

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.

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Modernising Document Execution

8 October 2021

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.

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Insolvent Trading Safe Harbour

1 October 2021

Key points: • 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

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Unfair Contract Terms – FICA Submission

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

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Improving Schemes of Arrangement

22 September 2021

The ABA suggests that in finalising the proposal an updated analysis of the existing Scheme regime would be of benefit to consider current market practices which may have evolved since the Productivity Commission’s 2015 report ‘Business Set-up, Transfer and Closure’.

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Treasury Laws Amendment Bill 2021

10 September 2021

The ABA supports the proposed amendments being considered by Parliament expeditiously to give industry ample time to implement changes to comply with the reforms. As such the ABA strongly supports the proposed bill being finalised and introduced into Parliament as soon as practicable. However, the ABA also asks Treasury to consider making a number of further amendments and clarifying a small number of matters in the Bill. Doing so would enhance the effectiveness and benefit of the Bill for industry.

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Reporting Standard ARS 720.1

8 September 2021

We request that the new ARS 720.1 come into effect on 1 March 2022 so that both ARF 220.0 and ARF 720.1 will be first prepared on the new standards consistently for the period ended 31 March 2022.

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Draft AML/CTF Rules Consultation – Chapter 79,80,21 and 48

3 September 2021

The ABA supports recently enacted legislative changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) that require reporting entities to verify their customers’ identity before providing designated services. The ABA also supports the provision for special circumstances that justify carrying out applicable customer identification procedures (ACIP) after the commencement of a designated service. While generally in support of this Chapter, the ABA seeks additional clarity over the scope of the proposed special circumstances, particularly in relation to opening an account and the initial deposit. We also support broader changes proposed to Chapters 21 and 48 of the rules. The submission puts forward a proposal regarding Chapter 80 on the basis that there may be unintended consequences with the current drafting, such as exempting a broader range of activities.

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