Key highlights from recent meetings of the ABR Board:
The Board was informed of the ATO’s 2018–19 Corporate Plan, including:
The recently-appointed interim National Data Commissioner, Deborah Anton, addressed the Board concerning her work to improve the public sector’s collection, management and use of data, including its use to inform policy decisions.
Peter Alexander, Chief Digital Officer of the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), presented on the DTA’s role in delivering the whole of government digital transformation strategy, including its work on:
The Board agreed to a proposal to initiate a review of the governance arrangements required to support the Registrar in 2019 and beyond. The review will provide clarity on the Board’s vital role in helping the Registrar and the community navigate the medium and long-term transformational change agenda.
Board members were informed of initiatives relevant to the ABR that were funded in the 2018–19 Budget. These included:
The Board was advised of the outcomes of an internal review (including consultation with ABR Board members) of the administration of the ABR, which made specific recommendations concerning the use of data, better cross-government coordination, improved communication and education, and changes to the application process.
Other issues discussed at the Board included:
The Board was provided with an update on components of:
The DIPA, which encompasses a broad range of economic, business and welfare data, is expected to result in better quality policy advice and outcomes, as well as improving public trust in data.
Following discussion on the definitions of contractors, employees and ABN entitlement at the previous Board meeting, the Board noted data showing a marked growth in ABN applications in certain industry sectors, and considered the need for greater clarity for small business on government websites concerning this issue.
The Board discussed:
The data-use survey demonstrated that agencies were moving beyond using the ABR database for broad research and planning, and were increasingly using it for service provision, support for regulatory functions and online validation and prefill.
Service NSW presented a ‘showcase’ demonstrating its engagement with the ABR, including its role in the future development of the ‘Easy to do Business’ program for small business.
The Board recently took over responsibility for broad strategic oversight of the SBR program, and consequently was advised of progress with invoicing and the acquisition of a Digital Capability Locator (directory of business digital addresses).
This was a 'special' meeting to focus on the future development of the Register, which has had largely unchanged functions since 1999.
The Board endorsed the concept of ABR evolution; involving the rationalisation of registers, reduced risks of incorrectly issuing ABNs, and other reforms to allow improved services to be provided by the Register.