Changes to corporate offence penalties must be carefully considered: Business Council

| January 2, 2019

Labor’s plan to ignore the expert ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce and arbitrarily increase penalties for corporate offences is unnecessary regulatory overeach, according to Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott.

“With economic growth low, Labor’s ad-hoc amendment increases regulatory risk and runs the risk of harming business confidence. Labor should not pursue its amendments.

“Changes to Australia’s regulatory regime must be carefully considered to avoid unintended consequences instead of being implemented for political expediency.

“There has not been any time for a thorough examination of the consequences of these sudden changes, for example the possible impacts on insurance and funding costs and the flow through effects on prices.

“The ASIC enforcement taskforce found that existing penalties were out of step with community expectations and outlined a clear plan to bring them into line with 50 carefully considered and widely consulted recommendations – there is no reason to discard that considered advice.

“At a time when Australia should be doing everything it can to attract investment and grow the economy it is disappointing that some political leaders are choosing to play politics with Australia’s economy.

“Ad hoc changes to Australia’s corporate regulatory regime won’t restore community confidence in the sector but they will risk undermining the certainty businesses need to keep investing in Australia.

“Business accepts the need for tough penalties to protect customers. We are ready and willing to sit down with both sides of politics to work through the potential impact of any regulatory changes.”

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