Budget 2014: Funding slashed for Australian Tax Office and ASIC as government moves to privatise regulator

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Budget 2014: Funding slashed for Australian Tax Office and ASIC as government moves to privatise regulator

The Australian Tax Office and Australian Securities and Investments Commission have both had their funding cut in this year’s budget.

The ATO’s funding will be cut by $142 million over three years from 2015. 

The tax office will bring forward 4700 job cuts that were already planned.

Nine hundred staff will be cut this year, 500 next year, 1600 in 2015-2016, 1200 in 2016-2017 and 500 in 2017-2018. 

ASIC’s funding will be cut by $120 million over five years.

The budget papers do not outline how the corporate regulator will make these savings, only saying ASIC will “adjust its priorities”.

The savings from both measures will be redirected by the government “to repair the budget and fund policy priorities”. 

The government also announced “scoping studies” into privatising ASIC’s registry function.

“The proceeds from future privatisations will be reinvested into the Asset Recycling Fund for new productive infrastructure,” the budget papers state.

As previously reported by SmartCompany, ASIC’s corporate register is estimated to generate more than $625 million in revenue and has annual costs of around $140 million.

ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft told the economics references committee in February the corporate register was “frankly, a technology business” and there could be “huge benefits” in separating the registry business and “merging it with other government registries to leverage the economies of scale from [its] Siebel management system”.

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Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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