Labor will force the Government to vote on the Director Identification Number in Parliament.
Yesterday Labor circulated amendments to the Government’s Combatting Illegal Phoenixing bill. The amendments replicate legislation the Government introduced into the last Parliament which lapsed at the election, but has not been reintroduced despite the lack of an economic agenda.
The DIN legislation doesn’t even appear on the Government’s proposed list of legislation to introduce.
Phoenixing is a widespread and corrupt practice, hurting employees, legitimate small businesses, and denying the tax office revenue, costing over $5 billion a year.
Experts agree that the single most effective measure to track dodgy developer phoenix operators is the Director Identification Number. Until now it was clear the Government agreed.
Labor has significant concerns the Government has walked away from this reform. We can’t wait for another construction industry collapse or Plutus Payroll scandal to expose the damage done by dodgy insolvencies.
There is widespread support for the measure from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, the ACTU, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Master Builders Australia, to name a few. It is the top recommendation of the Regulating Fraudulent Phoenix Activity research project run by Melbourne University and Monash University.
The legislation would require all company directors to obtain a unique Director Identification Number (DIN), which is integral for small businesses, liquidators and enforcement agencies to access information on directors including accurate information about director histories.
Currently it is easier to become a company director than open a bank account.
Labor announced support for a DIN in May 2017, and the reform enjoyed bipartisan support since September 2017 – two years ago.
Illegal phoenix activity occurs when a new company is created to continue the business of a company that has been deliberately liquidated to avoid paying its debts, including taxes, creditors and employee entitlements
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has also urged the government to act on the policy:
“Everyone supports the Director ID number, everyone supports the fact that it would dramatically address our capacity to reduce other inappropriate behaviour. We’ve got to make sure this doesn’t become a bit of a dog’s breakfast.”
KATE CARNELL, WEDNESDAY 17 JULY 2019.
It’s time the Government focused on protecting the vast majority of scrupulous businesses from the harm caused by the crooked few, rather than avoiding any responsibility.
Minister Sukkar has been in hiding on the issue. The question remains, will the Government vote for their own legislation?