8 December 2021

Reforming Australia’s payments system for the digital age


Joint media release with
Senator the Hon Jane Hume
Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy
Minister for Women's Economic Security

The Morrison Government has today unveiled the most significant reforms to Australia’s payment systems in more than 25 years. The reforms will ensure that Australia can capitalise on the significant opportunities being created by new payment and crypto technologies.

These reforms will build on our Digital Economy Strategy which is delivering on our vision for Australia to be a leading digital economy by 2030.

The reforms announced today will modernise the rules governing how Australians transact every day, including through new forms of payment like Digital Wallets and Buy Now Pay Later. The reforms also aim to give Australian’s confidence that businesses they engage with to buy, sell or hold digital assets like crypto are subject to appropriate oversight and licencing arrangements.

As part of these reforms, the Government will also investigate the feasibility of a Central Bank Digital Currency and seek to address the complex issue of de-banking.

Through our reforms, we will improve regulatory certainty for businesses, better protect consumers and investors and support competition by making it easier for innovative new entrants.

The Government’s proposals have been informed by three major reviews into Australia’s current regulatory framework; the Review of the Australian Payments System, the Senate Committee Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre Final Report, and the Parliamentary Joint Committee Corporations and Financial Services report: Mobile Payment and Digital Wallet Financial Services.

These reviews found that Australia’s payment system framework needs to be modernised to help drive innovation and spur competition, and that without reform, Australian consumers and businesses would increasingly transact in largely unregulated environments, with any rules determined by foreign governments and large multinationals.

The Government is responding to all 41 recommendations across the three reviews with a focus on centralising oversight of the payments system, including through enhanced powers for the Treasurer to set payment policy, and fundamental reform to strengthen business and consumer protections.

The reforms will progress in two phases, with the most urgent and immediately implementable reforms to be consulted on in the first half of 2022 and the remainder by the end of 2022.

The Morrison Government’s comprehensive and forward-looking reform agenda will further cement Australia’s place as a world class financial and technology centre.

The Government’s full response can be found on the Treasury website.