5 April 2004

Public Exposure of Draft Guidelines for the Release of Price-Sensitive Information

The Hon Ross Cameron MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, today released for public comment draft guidelines for the release of price-sensitive information by Australian Government departments and agencies.

The draft guidelines have been released for a six week public consultation period commencing today.

They are available on the Treasury website: www.treasury.gov.au.

The aim of the guidelines is to support the continuous disclosure regime which seeks to ensure that investors have timely and equal access to materially price sensitive information. Continuous disclosure of such information should ensure that the price of securities on secondary markets reflects their underlying economic value.

'Adoption of the guidelines would not reduce the obligation on the listed entity to release the required information or involve the disclosure of information which a listed entity would not itself be obliged to disclose,' Mr Cameron said.

'They would form a back-up mechanism, with departments and agencies complying on a best endeavours basis,' he said.

The guidelines would not impose rigid and expensive new procedures on government departments or agencies, but instead would raise awareness of this issue. Their purpose is to encourage departments and agencies to consider whether they make price-sensitive decisions and, if so, to consider, in consultation with the market operator, their own procedures for announcing them.

Mr Cameron encouraged all with an interest in this issue, particularly listed entities, to consider the draft guidelines and provide their comments within the consultation period.