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Federal Government reveals timeline to implement its 54 banking royal commission recommendations

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed an “implementation road map” around the 54 recommendations from the financial services royal commission that called for Government action.

The final report from commissioner Kenneth Hayne made 76 recommendations, 54 of which were directed at the Government, which has been accused of dragging its feet in response to the commission.

In what is described as a “full implementation road map”, Mr Frydenberg said more than a third of the Government’s commitments in response to the final report will have been implemented or will have legislation before Parliament by the end of this year.

He said more than 50 commitments of the 54 will have been implemented or be subject to legislation by the middle of next year.

The government’s strategy is that the remaining four recommendations needing legislation will have been introduced by the end of 2020.

The remaining 22 recommendations from the royal commission were aimed at regulators and the finance industry.

The release of the timetable comes with a commitment to independently review the impact of the changes in three years’ time. There is no reference to what independent expert or body would conduct the review.

The Treasurer said the scale of the reforms detailed in the Government’s implementation plan represented the biggest shake-up of the financial sector in three decades.

“There is no understating the importance of the royal commission and its findings to the critical task of restoring trust in Australia’s financial institutions,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“Industry is on notice. The public’s tolerance has been exhausted. They expect and we will ensure that the reforms are delivered and the behaviour of those in the sector reflects community expectations.”

The Government’s royal commission response is being billed as the most comprehensive corporate and financial services law reform since the 1990s, when the Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (CLERP) was introduced.

“The roadmap released by the Government underlines our determination to bring about change to the financial system by implementing the commission’s recommendations swiftly and effectively,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“Achieving this ambitious timetable will require additional resourcing that the Government has committed to, as well as Parliament dealing with the reforms constructively and with a sense of urgency.”

A key reason cited by the Government for delayed action is that Federal Parliament has only sat for 21 days since the final report was received in February this year.

Since the Royal Commission’s final report was released in February, 15 commitments from the government’s initial response have been implemented.

This comprises eight of the 54 recommendations the report directed at the government and seven additional commitments initiated independently by the government as part of its response.

In a statement, the Treasurer said there were 24 streams of work underway to expediate the Government’s response to the royal commission.

An extra $9.3 million has been provided to Treasury and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in addition to $12.1 million provided in the May Budget.

The release of the Government’s timetable for action came as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission continues to investigate potential criminal breaches outlined in the final report, which could result in referrals of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Frydenberg cites two previous reforms — the Future of Financial Advice and the Cooper Review into the superannuation system — as having longer legislative timelines after being tabled in parliament.

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