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1.2 - Beneficial ownership transparency

Overall status:

This commitment will improve transparency of information of beneficial ownership and control of companies available to relevant authorities. This will assist these authorities to address illegal activities of tax evasion, money laundering, corruption and terrorist financing.

The Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) has developed internationally recognised standards for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This commitment will progress Australia’s compliance with the relevant standard on beneficial ownership of companies and advance the OGP values of transparency and accountability in business by:

  • improving the effectiveness of our legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks
  • deterring the misuse of corporate structures for illicit purposes such as corruption, tax evasion and money laundering
  • protecting the integrity of the financial system; and
  • increasing growth through private sector investment

Current status

Treasury has considered submissions to the public consultation. The non-confidential submissions to the consultation have been published on the Treasury website and can be accessed via this link: https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/increasing-transparency-of-the-beneficial-ownership-of-companies/

The Government is considering what action may be needed to increase the transparency of beneficial ownership. Next steps will include development of any necessary legislative reforms and their implementation.

The Government reaffirmed its commitment to improving transparency around who owns, controls and benefits from entities to assist relevant authorities in combating illicit activities in its response to the Black Economy Taskforce Final Report and to assist in assuring the integrity of government contracts.

Delayed Milestone

This is under Government consideration.

Other stakeholders

Government: Attorney General’s Department , Australian Securities and Investment Commission, G20, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, regional partners and Australian Accounting Standards Board, state and territory governments.

Non-Government: Companies, peak bodies (including Law Council of Australia), non-government organisations (including Australian Open Government Partnership Network, Publish What You Pay Australia and Transparency International Australia), reporting entities under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act, FATF, Global Forum, international tax partners.

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Implementation Period Status

Treasury to release a public consultation paper seeking views on the details, scope and implementation of a beneficial ownership register for companies. The consultation will also consider the use of nominee shareholdings to conceal beneficial ownership

Feb-Apr 2017 Completed

Treasury is continuing to consult with stakeholders on this initiative.

Treasury will provide a recommendation to Government on the details, scope and implementation of a beneficial ownership register for companies (informed by public consultation).

Jul 2017 Completed

Begin work to implement Government decision on transparency of beneficial ownership of companies.

Aug 2017 - expected to continue for the duration of this Plan Delayed

Status updates for commitments are provided approximately every two months. With each update, agencies are encouraged to provide further and better particulars of the commitment and its steps to implementation, which may result in changes to timelines outlined in Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18.

Last updated: 12/02/2019

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