GetUp protests proposed ASIC registry sale


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 29 August, 2016


GetUp protests proposed ASIC registry sale

The Treasury department is in the final stages of a proposal to privatise the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s extensive company database, over protests from activist groups.

GetUp has accused the Turnbull government of “working behind closed doors” in a “shady plot” to privatise the database.

The ASIC registry is a national database where corporations in Australia file their names, histories, financial records and ownership details. The database contains over 10 million records from over 2 million companies.

Bidding for a tender for a private company to run the database closes on 29 August. While the government has stated it has not made the final decision whether to sell the database, if it decides to proceed the tender winner will be announced in October.

GetUp has so far attracted over 40,500 signatures in an online petition against the sale of the database.

The activist group states that Australians already pay some of the world’s highest fees to access corporate data, and prices are only likely to increase under a privatised system.

This has the potential to deter investigative journalism, as well as independent investigations into issues including tax dodging or exposing labour exploitation. Journalists, academics and advocacy groups could lose access to the records they need to conduct such investigations.

Image courtesy ASIC.

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