Thanks to Jo for that really kind introduction –
To John and Pradeep, both old colleagues and friends, and everybody at Deloitte, I’m grateful for the opportunity to join you today on Gadigal country –
As we look forward to continuing the journey of recognition and respect towards a Voice to Parliament which will help to make a tangible difference to the lives of our people and our communities.
Deloitte have been strong supporters of The Voice, and I want to thank them for that –
And for the valuable opportunity that they’ve given me to contribute this morning –
As we gather to hear from a cracking panel in Keith, Rebekah, John and Jacquie –
Who, after I wrap up, will be discussing this fantastic new report Deloitte is releasing today on digital corporate reporting.
For my part, I wanted to kick things off by saying a few words on the opportunities that we see at the intersection between digitisation, climate reporting, sustainable finance –
And how all these things can help businesses and investors succeed as we embark on the big shifts before us –
None bigger than the energy transformation.
The energy transformation and climate reporting
As I’ve said before, building a net zero economy –
And building it in a way that delivers prosperity and security and all the other things we value –
Is in many ways the defining challenge for our country.
There’s a tendency to see all this through the prism of the major structural changes and sectoral shifts that are going to occur –
The new policy targets and signals we’re putting in place to help us get there –
And the big technological breakthroughs we need to see in energy, transport and industrial processes.
All these things are really important –
But there’s another, more subtle, but equally crucial set of innovations and improvements which are needed to underpin all those major set pieces I just ran through.
These are changes to how we measure progress –
To how we manage risk and opportunity –
And to how we demonstrate results – to investors, clients and customers.
In short, if we’re to make the big economy-defining improvements that we want to see –
Then we’ll need to make the right decisions –
And to make the right decisions, we need the right information.
That’s the rationale underpinning the major reform we’re undertaking of mandating corporate climate reporting in Australia –
And our broader sustainable finance agenda.
Our goal here is to ensure that our businesses and financial institutions are disclosing material climate risks and opportunities in a clear and consistent way that is aligned with global standards and meets investor expectations.
These reforms are about making sure that our economy works efficiently and effectively to deliver capital to where it’s needed –
They’re about enabling investors to make decisions which match up our economic, social and environmental objectives –
And they’re about building markets based on clear, comparable and credible information.
The role of digital reporting
To put these disclosure obligations in place is one thing –
But if they’re going to be useful, we need to make sure that the information can be easily accessed, understood, and utilised –
Not buried away in PDFs.
Digital reporting clearly has a role to play here.
Since about 2010, companies have been able to lodge digital financial reports with ASIC – but we haven’t seen the uptake that we’d like –
So clearly there is some work to do –
And the paper being released today goes a long way towards enabling us to understand both the barriers and opportunities here –
By highlighting the productivity benefits for companies, regulators and auditors –
By emphasising how digital reporting could further Australia’s integration into global markets by making our businesses more apparent to overseas investors –
And by stressing how ESG risks are increasingly becoming broader business risks.
And, of course, I am very interested in the insights about digital reporting reducing tax avoidance in the US.
It’s important that we work through all these things methodically and reasonably –
A point that is emphasised in the report – that the introduction of mandatory reporting would need to be a carefully managed and phased process.
While continuing to make progress on getting the framework for climate disclosure requirements up and running.
We believe that’s the right approach –
One that will enable us to move forward on disclosure –
While also making sure that we put in place the building blocks for more digital reporting over time.
That’s why, as we go about bedding down climate disclosure –
We’ll be mindful of making sure our frameworks are flexible enough to incorporate digital climate reporting in the future –
And the same goes for the next steps on the rest of our sustainable finance agenda too.
In coming months, we’ll be consulting on the first draft of our broader sustainable finance strategy –
And one of the things we’ll be doing is asking our regulators to see how we can improve access to climate data through electronic reporting platforms.
This might mean working through ASIC’s existing voluntary reporting process –
It might mean seeing what we can do within the scope of other reporting systems –
But what it definitely means, is that we’re up for having further discussions on where the real opportunities lie at the intersection between sustainable finance, climate disclosure and digital.
That’s because we know that the best way to get the outcomes we want and need here is through partnership –
So that we can logically and methodically uplift our ambition over time –
Working to build the market-based framework that can deliver returns for investors and help us build a society that all of us want to see –
One that creates the strong, inclusive, and sustainable growth that will lead to more opportunities, for more people, in more parts of the country.
To get there, we’ll need to keep on working closely with industry –
Which is why I’m so looking forward to your input on the draft sustainable finance strategy that we’ll be releasing later in the year –
Another opportunity to think about how we can do things differently –
By mobilising the innovation and smarts that we have at our disposal to properly address the big opportunities and challenges in front of us.
The report being released today is another example of the kind of input that we’ll need to keep us moving in the right direction.
It’s why I was so grateful for the opportunity to engage with it –
To share some thoughts with you today –
And am so looking forward to the discussion ahead.
Thanks very much.