The Federal Government has denied that Budget documents point to a drop in staffing for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and is arguing that the regulator will be left with more staff when its registry functions move to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Reacting to a report in Money Management that the Budget documents pointed to a net loss of 218 staff next financial year, the office of the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, argued that ASIC would arguably have more staff at its disposal in the aftermath of the registry platform transfer.
“In 2018-19, the Government announced its modernising business registers program. Under this program, various business registries and data holdings will be moved to a new registry platform administered by the Australian Business Registrar within the Australian Taxation Office. As part of the next stage of this implementation, ASIC’s registry functions and approximately 221 staff were transferred to the ATO in April 2021,” it said.
“As a result, in 2021-22 ASIC’s expenditure will reduce by $23 million. Taking into account the transfer of these 221 staff, ASIC has more staff in 2021-22 than in 2020-21,” Frydenberg’s office said.
Budget Document Number 4 dealing with the average staffing levels (ASLs) of Government departments and agencies pointed to ASIC having 2,096 staffers in 2020-21 and 1878 in 2021-22.
The discussion around ASIC resourcing and expenditure comes against the background of adviser concern at the recent 60% increase in the so-called ASIC levy, notwithstanding suggestions by some ASIC executives that it may reduce in coming years as some regulatory activity declines.