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Opportunities to arise from nation-wide database integration

by Paris Cowan •
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A national scheme aimed at creating single database of registered Australian business names could create public sector business opportunities for systems integrators.

The register forms a key component of the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) plan to create a seamless national economy in Australia by standardising business regulation and processes across state and territory boundaries.

The Federal Parliament passed the necessary legislation to participate in the register on 13 October 2011, and the Queensland Parliament followed on 26 October 2011. The legislation has already been passed by the NSW and Tasmanian Parliaments.

Once the enabling legislation has been passed by the remaining States, work can proceed towards integrating the business names data currently held by each jurisdiction into the new central register.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been handed responsibility for the management of the National Business Names Register, and according to the agency’s 2010-11 Annual Report it has already “laid the groundwork” for the system.

“In 2010-11, work was underway on the infrastructure to support the National Business Names Register,” it said.

According to the COAG Agreement, ASIC is expected to implement a range of web capabilities for the system, including:

  • Business name registration services via the internet;
  • Online business name registration point at all ASIC Service Centres in capital cities;
  • Online business name registration points via appropriate agents and networks; and
  • An online service for the searching of the business names register by stakeholders and members of the public.

It will also need to host and maintain the database itself, as well as all documents, both electronic and otherwise, that are relevant to national business names registrations across the country.

However the agreement does ask that, “each State and Territory will use its best endeavours to transform the data in its electronic business names register into a format acceptable to the Commission (ASIC) and make such electronic data available for transfer to the Commission”.

ASIC hopes to have the register completed by mid-2012.

At this stage, Intermedium has not identified any contracts signed by ASIC that are explicitly described as being linked to the project. This might suggest that much of the work done to date was conducted internally, but could also mean any work done by third party contractors came under the umbrella of another contract.

The National Business Names Register is designed to make it easier and cheaper for businesses operating in multiple Australian jurisdictions to register their activity.

“A business operating and registering in every State and Territory currently faces a cost of more than $1,000 to register for three years. Under the new system, businesses will only face one fee of around $70 to register for the same period,” said the Minister for Small Business, Nick Sherry in a statement.

The National Business Names Register is one of the last reforms to be completed as part of the National Seamless Economy agenda.

The States and Territories are also due to start using a national e-conveyancing system that has been implemented under the Seamless National Economy agenda at the end of 2011.


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