In the 2022 Budget Release, the government announced changes that will affect annual company registration payments and search fees via the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) platform.
Fees paid to ASIC for company searches on its website will be removed from September 2023 when the new “Australia’s Business Registers” online platform is due to go live.
The announcement brings Australia into line with countries such as the US and the UK which have long made company information freely available.
The new online platform will hopefully be a way forward to reduce obstacles and unnecessary fees in respect of conducting routine due diligence on companies, especially privately owned firms not listed on a public share market and subject to continuous disclosure obligations.
It is understood that “retail searches” conducted by individual citizens or businesses such as media providers or prospective company partners or buyers will be free on the new “modernised” platform.
The government has not yet announced the commercial terms for “wholesale searches” made by businesses such as credit agencies and data providers who provide company information as a core service.
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