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Michael Murray is an Australian author and commentator on corporate and personal insolvency law and related issues, in Australia and internationally. He has a strong law and policy background, is independent of any connections, and his views are his own. He gives no legal advice. 

MYEFO 2019-20 – ASIC, phoenixing and ‘journalists’

The government’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2019-20 has these interesting items about access to ASIC’s registers, unlawful phoenixing and director identity numbers.


The government says it will provide $58.9 million over four years to the ATO and $4.7 million over four years to ASIC to continue the government’s efforts to counter illegal phoenixing. This measure is estimated by the government ‘to have a gain to the budget of $196.4 million in fiscal balance terms over the forward estimates period. In underlying cash balance terms this measure is estimated to have a gain to the budget of $50.1 million over the forward estimates period. This measure is estimated to increase GST payments to the States and Territories by $51.5 million over the forward estimates period’.

Th government says that this builds on the work of the Phoenix Taskforce to try to deter and disrupt illegal phoenix activity. It ‘leverages the Government’s enhancement of regulator tools and investment in improving company and director data through the modernising business registers program and implementation of director identification numbers’ (DINs).

Its attempts to address illegal phoenixing is estimated to increase receipts by $165 million over the forward estimates period.

Director identity numbers

The government says it will provide $156.2 million over four years from 2019-20 to ‘streamline regulatory compliance processes and reduce the cost of doing business, including by targeted investments in technology’.

This package includes:

  • $60.6 million in 2019-20 to make it easier and faster for business to interact with the Government, and to create a single, accessible and trusted source of business data, by introducing Director Identification Numbers [DINs] and transferring existing business registers on to a modernised platform operated by the Australian Business Register

Most importantly

The government says it will broaden the ASIC search fee exemption currently available to journalists when accessing certain information on the ASIC business registers to include free access to historical company extracts and documents lodged with ASIC.


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