Government launches business naming proposals

The Federal Government has formally launched proposals for a new system that will allow start-ups to register their business name nationally.


The proposed system, now open for public comment, was formulated by the Council of Australian Governments, with all Australian states and territories agreeing to refer their business names registration powers to the Federal Government.


The new system would give the Australian Securities and Investments Commission the national responsibility of registering, renewing and administering business names for all Australian businesses. Currently, business names are administered at state level.


Under the proposed legislation, businesses would be given the choice to renew their registrations for $30 for one year or $70 for three years, with the service available online at all hours.


Business names currently registered under the state and territory business names systems would automatically be rolled into the new national system.


A business name applicant whose application for a name is rejected would be able to request a review of the decision, and business name applicants and holders would also be able to appeal a decision made by ASIC to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.


According to the Minister Assisting on Deregulation, Senator Nick Sherry, the reform is a key component of COAG’s agenda to cut business red tape.


“It’s estimated to produce benefits in excess of $1.5 billion over eight years to business, government and consumers, most of which will flow to business,” Sherry said in a statement.


Sherry said 5% of all Australian businesses trade in more than one state or territory jurisdiction, and businesses operating in every state and territory currently pay more than $1,000 to register their name nationally for three years.


He said most businesses that operate in only one state or territory would also have their registration fee reduced under the new legislation.


“In a further time-saver, businesses will be able to apply for an ABN and register their business name in a single online application,” Sherry said.


The reform will also introduce an online service to deliver information to businesses about regulatory requirements including licences, registrations and permits.


Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, describes the initiatives as “fantastic”.


“At least we get some consistency across the states… I can’t question anything about the proposal, and my experience with government sites is that they’re normally pretty good,” Strong says.


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