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Acting for You, March 2024

by Catherine Maxwell FGIA FCG, General Manager, Policy & Advocacy, Governance Institute of Australia 

Digital ID Bills submission

Governance Institute again expressed support for the establishment of a national digital ID scheme in our submission on Digital ID Bill 2023 and the Digital ID (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023 to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics on 19 January 2024.

We noted that for our members, it is critical that Government commit to making it easier for Australians to verify their identity securely and confidently so that they can continue to safely interact with Government and business entities.

At a time of increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, it is also necessary that Australians most sensitive personal documents, passports, birth certificates and drivers’ licence details are exchanged, shared, and managed via secure, accessible, and affordable accredited digital service providers.

We reiterated that a move to an effective and secure Digital ID system will streamline many business transactions and improve cybersecurity, limiting the need for copies of personal identification documents and credentials.

For more information, read the full 12 October submission here.

We will continue to update members on any developments on this issue.

2024-25 Pre-budget submission

Governance Institute made a submission to the Treasury’s pre-budget public consultation, in which, Governance Institute advocated for our vision for a dynamic, safe, and resilient economy across four pillars.

These are:

  1. Develop modern regulatory architecture to allow for the efficient allocation of resources.
  2. Adopt corporate and commercial productivity reforms to support economic growth and limit inflationary pressures.
  3. Embrace the role of professional associations in educating and supporting individuals and organisations on their journey to a low-emissions economy.
  4. Continue to prioritise and strengthen Australia’s cyber security defences and modernise privacy laws to support trust and confidence in Australia’s digital economy.

For more information, read the whole submission here.

 

Climate related financial disclosure — Treasury Laws Amendment Bill


Governance Institute made a submission to Treasury regarding its consultation on the legislation to introduce mandatory climate related financial disclosure.

In our submission, we expressed our concern about the delay in release of the draft legislation given the proposed commencement date of 1 July 2024 for Group 1 entities, noting the limited period for consultation on an issue of this magnitude during a period when many key stakeholders were on leave was unhelpful.

Governance Institute also advocated that:

  • The implementation date for the requirements should be moved to 1 July 2025 given that the Standard is not yet finalised and the assurance Standard is also not yet finalised.
  • It is critical that the proposed reporting regime enables Australian entities to align their disclosures with requirements under the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Standards and with the National Greenhouse Energy Reduction Act (NGER) scheme requirements.
  • The standards should also align with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and ReportingStandard (2004) in allowing an entity to use either the equity share or the control approach when measuring greenhouse gas emissions. This aligns with approach taken in the NGER scheme.
  • As currently drafted, the regulatory burden of the proposals on Group 3 entities is disproportionate to the benefits of requiring these entities to make climate-related financial disclosures, given many of them currently have no external reporting obligations.
  • The reporting threshold for Group 3 entities should also be adjusted to $100M with a corresponding adjustment to turnover. Not-for-profits should also be excluded from the reporting requirements.
  • The inconsistencies between the Policy Statement, the Exposure Draft and the draft legislation should be addressed as a priority and the term ‘climate report’ potentially creates confusion for companies.
  • That directors should be required to declare that, in their opinion, they have taken reasonable steps to comply with, or to secure compliance with, the Sustainability Standards and the Corporations Act noting that the scope of the ASRS is limited to climate-related disclosures and the International Standards cover a broader range of matters. If necessary, this form of declaration could be time limited to align with the term of the limited immunity.
  • The proposed limited immunity should be extended to all forward‑looking statements and to entities in all Groups for the first three years of reporting. If the commencement date for the legislation is deferred the timeframe during which the limited immunity is available should be correspondingly adjusted.
  • The proposed broad Ministerial discretion was too broad and should be limited to matters relating to climate-related financial disclosure, clearly linked to the Sustainable Finance Strategy.
  • Given there has been no adjustment to the continuous disclosure regime because of the interaction between periodic climate-related financial disclosures and the continuous-disclosure regime for ASX-listed companies, the most appropriate option for addressing potential liability concerns would be to adapt the changes introduced during COVID-19 to the continuous disclosure regime.

For more information, read the whole submission here.

We will keep you updated on any further developments in this space.

 

Parliamentary Friends of Governance Event

On Monday 12 February, Governance Institute partnered with Transparency International Australia to host the first Parliamentary Friends of Governance event for 2024.

Co-chaired by Zoe Daniel MP and Bridget Archer MP, with Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto and Transparency International Australia Chair Professor AJ Brown held an in-depth briefing on Transparency International Australia’s Draft Design Principles for a Whistleblower Protection Authority. 

A full room of stakeholders, politicians, political staffers, Governance Institute members and guests enjoyed an insightful event that also included three prominent whistleblowers, Sharon Kelsey, Frank O’Toole, and Troy Stolz answering questions about their experiences from those in the room.

Governance Institute continues to make progress in our engagement in Parliament, and we will keep you informed about our next event.

Submissions

Climate related financial disclosure — Treasury Laws Amendment Bill — 08/02/2024

2024–25 Pre-budget submission — 25/01/24

Digital ID Bill 2023 and the Digital ID (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023 — 19/01/24

Media releases

New Governance Academy to expand educational pathways for governance and risk management proficiency — 24/01/2024

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