GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up: Royal Commission initial findings have far-reaching impact

5 October 2018
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg labels the Financial Services Royal Commission Interim Report a “frank and scathing” assessment of the finance industry.
  • Labor repeats calls to extend the Royal Commission and launches a series of roundtables to hear from regional banking victims.
  • The Government announces it will move to legislate reforms to the GST distribution system in the next sitting week of Parliament.
  • Commonwealth, State and Territory treasurers unanimously agree to remove the GST on feminine hygiene products.
  • The Government has announced a $100 million funding boost for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Royal Commission Interim Report handed down  

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has welcomed the release of the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, describing the initial findings as a “frank and scathing” assessment of the financial sector. Highly critical of the poor behaviour highlighted in the report, Mr Frydenberg remarked it was clear that banks and other financial institutions had been motivated by “greed” and prioritised profits before people. The Treasurer said the Commissioner’s observations with respect to the effectiveness of regulators and their relationship with the entities they regulated, highlighted instances that were “clearly unacceptable and cannot continue”.

Labor launches bank victim listening tour 

The Federal Opposition has announced it will hold a series of roundtables across regional Australia to hear from victims of misconduct in the banking sector, arguing that the Royal Commission has not provided sufficient opportunity for members of the public to share their experiences. If elected, Labor has committed to establishing a Financial Services Royal Commission Implementation Taskforce within Treasury to oversee the implementation of reforms recommended by the Royal Commission, with six monthly progress updates delivered to Parliament. The Government has criticised the proposals, saying Labor is “playing politics” with the Royal Commission.

New GST model on the horizon

The Government has announced it will move to legislate its proposed reforms to the GST distribution system in the next sitting week of Parliament, delivering a new model that provides more certainty and “leaves every state and territory better off”. Prime Minister Morrison has indicated an additional $9 billion will be made available to states and territories over the next ten years under the new changes, which will include the introduction of a new Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation benchmark and a permanent in-system GST relativity floor. Labor has cited concerns from multiple state treasurers who have disagreed with the claim that no state would be worse off under the new system.

Treasurers reach agreement on GST change 

Federal, State and Territory treasurers convened this week at a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations, unanimously agreeing to remove the GST on feminine hygiene products from 1 January next year. The decision comes after years of lobbying from community groups and follows a similar commitment from Labor earlier this year. The Federal Opposition has welcomed the move.

Funding boost for Home Support 

Senior Australians and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has announced a funding boost of $100 million over two years for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). Minister Wyatt said the funding boost will help to meet immediate growth needs, with the first payments to be made to providers in January.

Looking ahead 

The Western Australian Parliament is sitting next week.


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