Introduction and conduct of the Inquiry
On 1 November 2012, the Senate referred the provisions of the Treasury
Legislation Amendment (Unclaimed Money and Other Measures) Bill 2012 for
inquiry and report by 19 November 2012.
The Bill makes amendments to the Banking Act 1959 (Banking Act), First
Home Saver Accounts Act 2008 (FHSA Act), Life Insurance Act 1995
(Life Insurance Act), Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act
1999 (SUMLM Act), Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act
2001 (ASIC Act), and Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act) to
give effect to the unclaimed moneys measures announced in the 2012-13 Mid-Year
Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).
These measures include:
- reducing from seven years to three years the period of inactivity
before bank accounts, First Home Saver Accounts (FHSAs) and life insurance
moneys are treated as unclaimed and transferred to the Australian Securities
and Investment Commission (ASIC);
- increasing the threshold below which small lost member superannuation
accounts are required to be transferred to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) from
$200 to $2000, where the account has been inactive for a period of five years
or the member is uncontactable;
- reducing from five years to 12 months the period of
inactivity before which the superannuation accounts of unidentifiable members are
transferred to the ATO;
- providing for unclaimed moneys and proceeds from the sale of
unclaimed properties under the Corporations Act transferred to ASIC to be
recognised directly in the Commonwealth Consolidated Revenue Fund, rather than
deposited and held for six years in the Companies and Unclaimed Monies Special
Account (CUMSA), which will be closed; and
- providing for the payment of interest on unclaimed moneys from
1 July 2013, with the interest rate to be calculated according to
regulations, with the intention being that the rate would be calculated in
accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee advertised the inquiry on its website and in the Australian
(7 November 2012), and wrote directly to a range of individuals and
organisations inviting written submissions. The committee received 13
submissions, which are listed at Appendix 1.
The committee appointed a sub-committee, chaired by Senator Cameron, to
conduct the hearing and prepare this report.
The sub-committee held a public hearing in Canberra on 12 November 2012.
The names of witnesses who appeared at the hearing are at Appendix 2.
The sub-committee thanks all who contributed to the inquiry.
Background to this inquiry
The unclaimed money measures covered in the Bill were announced in the
As described in greater detail in the next chapter, these measures are intended
to help reunite people with their unclaimed money, while preserving the value
of this money.
The measures in this Bill will result in estimated savings over the
forward estimates of:
(a)$92.3 million from measures in Schedules 1, 2 and 3, which relate to
bank accounts, FHSAs and life insurance monies;
(b)$675.2 million from measures in Schedule 4, which relates to
(c)$118.5 million from measures in Schedule 5, which relates to the
holding and handling of unclaimed property (including unclaimed moneys) arising
under the Corporations Act.
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