Government, Finance - ASIC Hit With Budget Cut
Amid shocking revelations of misconduct in the banking industry, the coalition's new budget slashes funding to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) by $26 Million and cuts its staffing by 30 workers.
ASIC will see its funding fall from $346 Million to $320 Million by 2021. That has the opposition questioning whether the coalition Treasurer Scott Morrison are serious about fighting corporate crime.
"The Treasurer is all bark and no bite when it comes to making sure our white collar agencies are fighting corporate crime arising from misconduct by our financial services organisations," said Labor MP Matt Keogh in an interview with The Australian Financial Review. "You have got to contrast these cuts against the comments of Mr Morrison last week that they would go after big scalps arising out of APRA's CBA report and the royal commission."
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus also condemned slashing ASIC's budget while the agency uncovers allegations of bribery at the National Australia Bank, evidence of advisors impersonating clients to access the details of their superannuation funds, and charging fees to dead clients at Commonwealth Bank.
"That's a shocking decision for the government to have made at the very time when all of these problems are being exposed about the banks," said Mr. Dreyfus. "This is not the time to be cutting ASIC," he added.
The cuts seem even more inexplicable because of the 2016 funding regime which lets the taxpayer off the hook for funding the regulator: ASIC's funding comes from banks, insurance companies, super funds, and publicly listed companies through a user-pays model.