Turnbull all talk and no action on illegal phoenixing - Media Release

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT ALL TALK AND NO ACTION ON ILLEGAL PHOENIXING

The Turnbull Government have today finally released 2015 costings of how much dodgy phoenixing activity costs the economy – yet they are failing to take action to stop it.

In 2012, phoenix activity was estimated by PWC to cost as much as $3 billion. PWC’s 2015 report – belatedly released by the Turnbull Government today – puts that figure at $5 billion.

Yet the Turnbull Government has done nothing to stop this – they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to even release the updated costings.

We have been calling on the Turnbull Government to release this 2015 report through freedom of information requests. The Government’s excuse earlier this year for keeping it secret was that the report 'is not yet finalised and won't be ready to be published in the near future'. Three years after it was written, Minister O’Dwyer has finally released it today.

Labor have been calling for the introduction of director identification numbers since May 2017, with support from:

  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
  • Productivity Commission
  • Tax Justice Network
  • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Master Builders Australia
  • Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association
  • Phoenix Project, comprising experts from Melbourne University Law School and Monash University Business School
  • Australian Institute of Credit Management

In addition to requiring a director identification number, a Shorten Labor Government will also crack down on phoenix activity by:

  • Increasing penalties associated with phoenix activity
  • Introducing an objective test for transactions depriving employees of their entitlements
  • Clarifying the availability of compensation orders against accessories

Consulting on targeted integrity measures based on the recommendations of the Melbourne Law School / Monash Business School Phoenix Research Team recommendations.

A ‘phoenix hotline’ as “announced” today was also “announced” last year by the Turnbull Government, despite the ATO already having such a hotline, making it as fresh as last year’s leftovers.

For the sake of Australia’s taxpayers, workers and honest businesses, the Turnbull Government must urgently introduce legislation to implement a director identification number. They should also adopt the rest of Labor's plans to crack down on dodgy directors, including increasing penalties and introducing an objective test for transactions depriving employees of their entitlements.

Australians need action—not announcements—on dodgy phoenix activity.

MONDAY, 16 JULY 2018


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