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November 03, 2019

Labor is concerned by reports that the key enforcement tool to catch dodgy directors – a Director Identification Number - will not be up and running for at least three years.
Fraudulent directors will cost legitimate business owners, their employees and the economy an estimated $15 billion due to Scott Morrison’s inaction in that time.
Each day the Morrison Government fails to act on the issue, it could be costing tradies, small business and the economy around $14.5 million.
Reports suggest the reason for the delay is because the Government refuses to fund a $500 million IT upgrade to implement the bipartisan DIN measure.
Labor has circulated amendments which will force the Government to vote on the Director Identification Number in Parliament, but the Morrison Government have repeatedly pulled the Combatting Illegal Phoenixing bill from being debated and voted on.
The DIN amendments replicate legislation the Government introduced into the last Parliament which lapsed at the election, but has not been reintroduced – possibly because of the IT upgrade expenditure.
The DIN enabling legislation doesn’t even appear on the Government’s proposed list of legislation to introduce.
As noted by experts in the reports, you could practically sign your dog up as a director of a company. This is why experts agree that the single most effective measure to track dodgy phoenix operators is the DIN.
We can’t wait for another construction industry collapse or Plutus Payroll scandal to expose the damage done by dodgy directors.
Illegal phoenix activity occurs when a new company is created to continue the business of a company that has been deliberately liquidated to avoid paying its debts, including taxes, creditors and employee entitlements – costing tradies, small businesses and the tax office over $5 billion a year.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has also urged the government to act on the policy: 
“Everyone supports the Director ID number, everyone supports the fact that it would dramatically address our capacity to reduce other inappropriate behaviour. We’ve got to make sure this doesn’t become a bit of a dog’s breakfast.” 

Labor will force the Government to vote on their own DIN legislation.

The question remains, will the Government vote for their own policy – or will they sacrifice tradies and small businesses to the tune of $15 billion, all for a politically-motivated wafer-thin surplus.