Investigating the government's proposal to sell the ASIC Registry

Some time ago the government announced a proposal to sell the ASIC Registry. I've been following the issue and have asked the Revenue Minister a series of questions about the government's plans.

 

 

Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (12:07):  I appreciate the opportunity to ask some questions of the Minister representing the Minister for Finance in relation to the proposed sale or other commercialisation of the ASIC registry business. The terms of reference for the scoping study that was undertaken into the ASIC registry business included a requirement that the report for the study address, among other things, identification of any national security issues and mitigation strategies. So I ask the minister: which national security agencies and which national security oversight agencies or entities have been consulted in relation to the possible sale, lease or other commercialisation of the ASIC registry business?

On a related note, the government obviously has a public data policy, released in December 2015, as part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda. This proposal appears to be somewhat at odds with that policy. It is also at odds with a comment from the Prime Minister previously that it was 'regrettable that ASIC's data is behind a paywall'. Accordingly, I ask: has the Digital Transformation Office been consulted in relation to the possible sale or other commercialisation of the ASIC registry business? Has the public data branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet been consulted about the possible sale, lease or other commercialisation of the ASIC registry business? If the ASIC registry business is sold, leased or otherwise commercialised, is it anticipated that price regulation would apply to new products? If the ASIC registry business is sold to a corporation, leased to a corporation or otherwise commercialised by agreement with a corporation, will there be any requirement that that corporation be and remain majority Australian owned? If the ASIC registry business is sold to a corporation, leased to a corporation or otherwise commercialised by agreement with a corporation, to what extent will it be possible for the government to ensure the security of the data held by the corporation? Finally, to what extent does the minister believe a new, non-government operator of the ASIC registry will be able to increase search volumes? Has any modelling or prediction work been undertaken to assess the possible additional revenue that could realistically be generated by increasing search volumes for currently existing searches, or is it, instead, intended to be the case that the additional revenue would primarily be generated from the creation of new products under a monopoly arrangement?

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