The Turnbull Government has set out its vision for fintech innovation in Australia with a series of policy reforms announced to help nurture a competitive regulatory environment.
The new fintech statement, launched by Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, is part of the Government's broader Innovation and Science agenda framework and comes in direct response to a series of recommendations that were tabled together last month by Fintech Australia — led by Reinventure Group's managing director, Simon Cant.
"Fintech is the engine room of the Australian economy, enabling all other industries to grow and transact," Cant said.
"With hundreds of dynamic rapidly growing fintech ventures transforming financial services for Australian consumers and businesses, the Treasurer's commitment to supporting this sector bodes well not just for Australian fintech start-ups, but for the Australian economy overall."
Among the key reforms introduced are changes to Australia's comprehensive credit reporting regime to encourage data availability, refining crowdfunding regulations, addressing the ‘double GST' treatment of digital currencies, and opening up access to concessional tax treatment for venture capital investments in fintech firms.
Releasing a new report, titled Backing Australian Fintech, the Treasury said the Australian start-up sector had grown strongly in the past few years but acknowledged that there was still "a long way to go" for the country to realise its innovation potential.
"Venture capital funding in the UK and Canada is significantly higher as a proportion of gross domestic product than here in Australia … our challenge now is to capture the competitive gains that come with pioneering innovation and leading the way in global markets."
The Federal Government also said that it was working closely with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to help lay the foundations for developing a "regulatory sandbox" for Australian fintech.