2017 is off to a great start for open government, with implementation of Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan well underway. A number of public consultation activities have been completed or are currently open as agencies work to deliver their commitments:
Commitment 1.1 – Improve whistleblower protections in the tax and corporate sectors
We wrote to you in December 2016 about the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services’ release of the ‘Review of tax and corporate whistleblower protections in Australia’ paper for public consultation. Submissions closed on Friday 10 February 2017 and the results of this consultation process and any public submissions received in response to this paper will be made available to the Parliamentary Inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services is due to report to the Senate by 30 June 2017.
Commitment 1.2 – Beneficial ownership transparency
The Treasury has released a public consultation paper seeking views on the details, scope and implementation of a beneficial ownership register for companies. Interested parties are invited to comment on the consultation paper. The closing date for submissions is 13 March 2017.
Commitment 1.4 – Combating corporate crime
The Attorney-General's Department is finalising a public consultation paper on foreign bribery law reforms and a second consultation on a possible deferred prosecution agreement scheme. Both will be released publicly in the near future.
The Attorney-General's Department is also consulting with industry on models for regulating lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, jewellers and trust and company service providers (Tranche II entities) under the Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) regime. A series of industry consultation papers on models for regulation were released in December 2016. The Attorney-General's Department is also meeting with the affected sectors to discuss issues of concern.
The Attorney-General's Department also released industry consultation papers in December 2016 relating to:
- the regulation of the digital currency sector under the AML/CTF regime, and
- a legislative package that will implement the first phase of recommendations arising from the report of the statutory review of the AML/CTF regime.
Submissions closed 31 January 2017. The Attorney-General's Department will shortly commence face-to-face discussions with industry to discuss issues raised in submissions made in response to these two papers.
Commitment 2.1 – Release high-value datasets and enable data-driven innovation
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is holding a series of consultations with the research, not-for-profit and private sectors to help identify and release the data they want. To share your views on high-value data and how the Government can improve its availability and accessibility, please contribute the Survey and contribute your ideas via the Brainstormer tools at the Source.
We encourage you to continue to stay engaged in the delivery of the National Action Plan as further consultation opportunities open throughout the year, and we look forward to establishing arrangements for public reporting on progress against the Plan.