27 January 2012

Proposed Directors' Liability Reforms Released for Public Consultation

Proposed amendments to directors' liability laws released today will form the first part of the Commonwealth's implementation of the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) Directors' Liability reform project, said Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury.

Mr Bradbury today released an exposure draft of the Personal Liability for Corporate Fault Reform Bill 2012 for public comment.

"Directors' Liability is one of the 27 regulatory reforms under COAG's National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy," said Mr Bradbury.

"The reform aims to harmonise the approach to imposing personal criminal liability for corporate fault - otherwise known as derivative liability - by requiring jurisdictions to audit their laws against COAG agreed principles and to amend legislative provisions to reflect a truly national approach to imposing personal criminal liability on corporate officers.

"In line with the COAG reform objectives, the Commonwealth has assessed its laws against the COAG principles and supplementary guidelines and the amendments proposed in this Bill reflect the proposed changes within Treasury portfolio legislation, excluding taxation legislation.

"Company directors have an important role ensuring that Australia's companies are innovative and competitive.

"This reform aims to ensure that in areas where derivative liability is considered appropriate, it is imposed in accordance with principles of good corporate governance and criminal justice and in a manner that will promote responsible entrepreneurialism and economic growth."

A further exposure draft bill covering the second tranche of proposed amendments relating to other Commonwealth legislation is expected to be released later in the first quarter of 2012 for public comment.

The Personal Liability for Corporate Fault Reform Bill 2012 can be found at www.treasury.gov.au and submissions close on 30 March 2012.

27 January 2012