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Harsher penalties for misconduct tabled

Tougher penalties for misconduct, including a five-fold increase in penalties for individual and an increase in maximum prison time has been put forward by Treasury.

Business Miranda Brownlee 27 September 2018
— 1 minute read

A joint release from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert said the proposed changes include doubling the maximum prison time for the most serious criminal offences to 10 years.


The measures will also see financial penalty for individuals for civil contraventions be increased more than five‑fold from $200,000 to $1.05 million or three times the benefit gained from the contravention.

For corporates, the government is seeking to raise the financial penalties by 45,000 penalty units, triple the gains made or prevented due to the infraction, or 10 per cent of the corporation’s annual turnover, whichever amount is greatest.

Contraveners may also be stripped of ill-gotten gains from their illegal activities, under the proposed measures.

The draft legislation also seeks to introduce criminal offences that sit alongside strict and absolute liability offences, harmonise and expand the infringement notice regime and introduce a new test that applies to all dishonesty offences under the Corporations Act 2001.

The measures were first announced by former Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer in April this year, in the wake of some of the scandals heard by the royal commission.

The reforms implement some of the recommendations of the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce thatwas established to review ASIC’s enforcement regime.

Treasury is currently seeking feedback on the measures with submissions closing 23 October 2018.

Change is coming

The architect of the Future of Financial Advice Reforms Bernie Ripoll earlier told Accountants Daily that financial and professional services circles should expect genuine reform which targets executive-level leadership.

“We’ve already seen the evidence of it not being about just one poor accountant down the end of the supply chain where they just copped the brunt of everything that’s happened in the sector. We’ve seen board directors go, senior people with big reputations gone,” Mr Ripoll told Accountants Daily. 

“I am confident that it’s not going to be just more of the same … where a junior person at the end of the supply chain was instructed to do something and they cop all the brunt of everything that’s gone wrong.

“This is not the case this time. We’ve got the most senior people who are either have resigned, have been sacked, removed, are on sick leave indefinitely, because they really are sick with worry,” he said.

Harsher penalties for misconduct tabled
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