Governance Institute welcomes AGM reform via Labor’s proposed Competition and Growth Taskforce

Labor’s taskforce will continue the work of the dissolved Corporations and Market Advisory Committee’s AGM and Shareholder Engagement Report

The Governance Institute of Australia welcomes today’s announcement by the Federal Labor Party to invest $3 million into a new Competition and Growth Taskforce, which will focus on corporate governance issues such as AGM reform, boosting shareholder engagement and corporate reporting.

Labor has said the taskforce will continue the work of the Corporations and Market Advisory Council (CAMAC) which was abolished in 2015.

“We campaigned strongly against the abolition of CAMAC, which for decades has been a valuable source of independent advice to Government about the issues facing company directors and their investors,” said Megan Motto, CEO, Governance Institute of Australia.

“It is excellent news that, if elected, this taskforce will place an immediate focus on completing the Annual General Meeting and Shareholder Engagement Report that CAMAC started.

“Shareholders of all kinds face challenges when participating in the corporate affairs of the companies in which they invest, and the Governance Institute has long advocated on behalf of its members for the reform of AGMs, an essential engagement point for shareholders, and vital to the governance of any company.”

The same overly burdensome regulatory landscape that makes corporate reporting difficult, also means that AGMs are also becoming prohibitively expensive for companies to stage. Some ASX200 companies are claiming nearly $1 million in costs yearly, while shareholder attendance is falling.

This damages the ability of shareholders to participate in their company’s governance, and hold boards accountable. The problems are even more difficult for resource-strapped small businesses, not-for-profits and charities.

“In an election campaign that hasn’t had much of a focus on business and the regulatory burdens it faces, it’s good to see politicians taking up the challenge. We support any measure by government to streamline regulatory burdens, boost growth and productivity, and encourage healthy competition.”

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Media contact: Hannah Edwards, media@governanceinstitute.com.au

About Governance Institute of Australia 

A national membership association, advocating for a community of 40,000 governance and risk management professionals from the listed, unlisted and not-for-profit sectors.  Our mission is to drive better governance in all organisations, which will in turn create a stronger, better society.

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