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Government response to Australia’s FinTech priorities

Industry priorities for FinTech development Government response

Comprehensive credit reporting and data

Mandate comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) for large credit providers by end of 2016 and small credit providers by end of 2017.

Immediately introduce several additional data fields to CCR.

Legitimise the current practices around financial data aggregation and mandate standard open‑data application programming interface.

The Government has commissioned a Productivity Commission inquiry into options for improving data availability and use. The inquiry will review the uptake of the credit reporting framework, and will examine options for standardising the collection, sharing and release of data.

The Government will also make anonymised and non‑sensitive public data openly available by default through In February 2016, we released the Geocoded National Address File and Administrative Boundaries datasets on this website.

The Digital Transformation Office will also develop a Trusted Digital Identity Framework.

Financial robo-advice

Provide guidance on satisfying the regulatory compliance obligations (especially the best interests duty) when providing ‘robo‑advice’.

Improve the transparency of financial product performance and fees.

On 21 March 2016, ASIC released a new draft regulatory guide for robo-advice providers operating in Australia. The draft regulatory guide builds on existing ASIC guidance and provides a convenient starting point for robo‑advice providers seeking to understand their regulatory obligations.


Negotiate mutual licence recognition arrangements globally for insurers and insurance distribution businesses.

Facilitate emerging models (e.g. crowdfunded and peer‑to‑peer models) for micro‑insurance and quasi‑insurance.

The Government will consider the impact of allowing licensed brokers to sell policies from unauthorised foreign insurers where they offer consumers a better price and appropriate consumer protection.


Continue to expand the Crowd‑Sourced Equity Funding (CSEF) framework to provide new funding sources to Australian start‑ups and small businesses, including to:

  • remove the asset and turnover eligibility test;
  • remove the cooling off period;
  • review Australian Market Licence (AML) requirements; and
  • extend eligibility to private companies.

The Government has introduced a Bill into the Parliament that will facilitate crowd‑sourced equity funding for public companies in Australia. Following further consultation with the industry, including the FinTech Advisory Group, the Government will consider:

  • increasing the assets and turnover threshold used to determine eligibility for equity crowdfunding to $25 million; and
  • reducing the cooling off period for investors into crowd‑sourced equity funded projects to 48 hours.

Following its implementation the Government will continue developing this new funding framework to ensure it is fit for purpose.

The Government will consult on a potential framework for crowd‑sourced debt funding during 2016.

Blockchain technology and digital currencies

Amend the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 to recognise Bitcoin as money.

Improve banking access for digital currency companies, by incorporating digital currency into the Anti‑Money Laundering and Counter‑Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

Establish a roundtable comprised of the banks, regulators, government and industry to address the ongoing problem of the ‘de‑banking’ of digital currency businesses.

We note that reports from the Senate Economics References Committee’s Inquiry into Digital Currency and the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Business Set Up, Transfer and Closure recommended that digital currency be treated as money for GST purposes to address the current ‘double taxation’ effect and that AML/CTF laws should apply to digital currencies.

The Government is committed to addressing the ‘double taxation’ of digital currencies and will work with the industry on legislative options to reform the law relating to GST as it is applied to digital currencies.

The Government is considering the application of AML/CTF laws to digital currencies as part of the current statutory review of the AML/CTF Act due to be released in 2016.

The Government welcomes the announcement by the ASX that it is exploring Blockchain technology for a new post‑trade solution for the Australian equity market.

Payments systems

Explore the development of domestic non‑AUD settlements.

The Government notes that the private sector has developed a foreign currency settlement service for Chinese RMB payments by the ASX’s Austraclear settlement facility.

Regulatory sandbox

Develop and introduce a ‘regulatory sandbox’ in which businesses can test their product or model before obtaining the relevant licences.

The Government believes that Australia’s financial system can support a ‘regulatory sandbox‘ for the FinTech industry. We have been working with ASIC on the development of a ‘regulatory sandbox’ for Australian FinTech. The Government is keen to develop a world leading ‘regulatory sandbox’ in Australia.

The Government notes that ASIC currently has, and uses, a number of sandbox‑like powers to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses, by granting waivers (or relief) from the law to facilitate business.

ASIC established an Innovation Hub in April 2015 to help FinTech start‑ups navigate the regulatory laws it administers, including by providing informal guidance from senior advisers. ASIC is also working with its Digital Finance Advisory Committee on how to best utilise the existing regulatory arrangements and what further measures should be considered.

Venture capital

Allow the tax concession available for investments made through Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLPs) to apply to investments made in FinTech firms.

The Government will introduce a new mechanism by which Innovation Australia can issue binding advice in relation to the definition of ineligible activities and other limited powers to clarify eligibility. This would allow Innovation Australia to be able to clarify whether businesses activities are ineligible, removing the legal uncertainty associated with investments for ESVCLPs.

The Government will ensure that start‑ups involved in FinTech, including in insurance and finance related activities can be eligible investments for the purposes of the venture capital tax concession. This will allow access to the incentives for venture capital investment including those available under the National Innovation and Science Agenda, encouraging investment in FinTech.