Increased Funding to Improve ASIC Client Contact Centre

As part of the 2013-14 Budget, the Government will provide an additional $7.8m over two years to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to improve ASIC’s client contact centre service levels to support the introduction of the online National Business Names registration system.

On 28 May 2012, ASIC assumed responsibility for the administration of the National Business Names Register. This National Register replaced the earlier system of separate State and Territory-based registers.

“The national registration system has reduced registration fees and compliance costs for Australian businesses,” said Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Bernie Ripoll. “Business can register a single name and operate under that name across Australia for a single low fee. Previously, businesses paid over $1000 to register a business name for three years in every State and Territory.”

The National Register also provides increased access to business name information for businesses and consumers through a national online search facility. This is clearly an important benefit of the new system, with almost 6 million free business names searches already conducted. Business owners can now check business name availability, register a business name and update their details, all on one national online service. As a further enhancement, new businesses are able to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and register a business name in a single transaction.

“ASIC has registered over 240,000 business names since it assumed responsibility for the National Register,” said Mr Ripoll. “The vast majority of these registrations were performed on the spot via the online system, enabling immediate registration of the business name. This demonstrates the improved efficiency of the National Register.”

This is in addition to the 1.5 million registered business names which were transferred from the previous State and Territory registers to the National Register. ASIC has already issued over 425,000 renewal notices in relation to those ‘grandfathered’ business names whose registration has become due for renewal since the launch of the National Register.

Responsibility for the National Register represents a significant increase in ASIC’s workload, especially with respect to the number of people accessing ASIC’s client contact centre – over 1 million phone enquiries and 120,000 written enquiries since the launch of the National Register.

“By providing this extra funding to ASIC, the Government will be ensuring that ASIC is able to be contacted by the public in a quick and efficient manner. This funding will improve ASIC’s client contact centre capabilities, and allow ASIC to improve the quality of service that it provides to the community.”

The cost of this additional funding will be offset by a modest increase in the base fees charged by ASIC for registering a business name – an increase of $2 for one-year registrations (currently $30) and $4 for three-year registrations (currently $70). These fees will continue to be indexed to adjust for inflation.

The National Business Names Register, as well as the Small Business Support Line and Small Business Advisory Service are ways the Government is reducing red tape and the cost of doing business.

Click here to view the Media Release

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