The Federal Government has injected an additional $2 million into the Financial Reporting Council in the lead-up to the adoption of international accounting standards in 2005.
"The Government is committed to ensuring that Australia is well placed to take full advantage of the adoption of international standards," the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
"It is essential the FRC has the necessary funds to do its work during this critical period of the transition and the Government has now ensured that funding.
"However, it is disappointing that business has not pulled its weight under the agreed tripartite formula to fund the work of accounting standard setting.
"The other parties to the funding arrangements - the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and the accounting bodies - have met their obligations under the one-third each formula, but business has not."
Senator Campbell said he would convene a roundtable of key stakeholders to find a solution to longer-term funding of the FRC.
"The Government wants to avoid having to raise the required funding by compulsory means, but if voluntary arrangements are not going to work we will have to find a mechanism that does," he said.
"I will be writing to key stakeholders today, outlining the issues and the need to get together to find a long-term solution.
"Strong oversight of auditing and accounting standard-setting domestically and high quality input into international standard-setting is clearly in the interests of Australian business and I am confident we can find a way to equitably share the burden."
Senator Campbell said the Government's $2 million injection would also cover the set-up costs of a reconstituted independent Audit and Assurance Standards Board, which the FRC will oversight under CLERP 9 reforms. The board currently is funded and staffed by the accounting profession.
11 September 2003 Contact: Wayne Grant 02 6277 3955 or 0407 845 280