On 18 March 2021, the Senate agreed that the resolution of appointment of the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology be amended as follows:
The committee be called the Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre.
The following additional matters be referred to the committee:
the size and scope of the opportunity for Australian consumers and business from Australia growing into a stronger technology and finance centre;
the flow-on employment and economic benefits which accrue to finance and technology centres;
barriers to the uptake of new technologies in the financial sector;
new opportunities for Australia as a technology and finance centre arising from the COVID-19 pandemic;
benchmarking of comparable global regimes with Australia;
the impact of corporate law restraining new investment in Australia;
the policy environment facing neo-banks;
opportunities and risks in the digital asset and cryptocurrency sector; and
any related matters.
That the committee present its final report on or before 30 October 2021.
Conduct of this phase of the inquiry
On 19 May 2021, the committee released its third issues paper calling for submissions by 30 June 2021. The issues paper noted that in this phase of the inquiry, the committee would particularly focus on:
the regulation of cryptocurrencies and digital assets;
issues relating to ‘debanking’ of Australian FinTechs;
the policy environment for neobanks in Australia;
instances of corporate law holding back investment; and
options to replace the Offshore Banking Unit.
During this phase of the inquiry the committee received 88 submissions. A list of submissions received by the committee is at Appendix 1.
The committee held 3 public hearings, all via videoconference: on 6 August, 27 August and 8 September. A list of witnesses who gave evidence is available at Appendix 2. Submissions and transcripts of evidence may be accessed through the committee website.
The committee would like to thank the organisations and individuals who have participated in the public hearings as well as those that made written submissions.
Structure of the report
The report consists of the following chapters:
Chapter 2 provides an overview of digital assets markets in Australia and the regulatory framework for digital assets in Australia and overseas;
Chapter 3 examines options for reforming the regulatory framework for digital assets in Australia;
Chapter 4 explores the issue of de-banking for Australian FinTechs, and policy proposals to help address this issue;
Chapter 5 details other issues raised in this phase of the committee's inquiry, focusing on the policy environment for neobanks in Australia and options to replace the Offshore Banking Unit; and
Chapter 6 details the committee's conclusions and recommendations.