7 December 2015
Media Release - #2015035, 2015

In the role of: Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer [21 September 2015 - 18 July 2016]

Creating a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation

The Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) contains a number of significant reforms which will assist businesses by encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP said.

“This Government is aiming to make it easier for start-ups and small businesses to attract the funding and investment they need by providing Australia’s first dedicated framework to enable crowd-sourced equity funding (CSEF),” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“The changes will also maintain adequate protections for mum and dad investors who share in the risks and successes of these businesses. The Government last Thursday introduced legislation into the Parliament to ensure we meet this emerging market.

“We’ve also committed to changing the laws around Employee Share Schemes (ESS) to help businesses attract and retain quality staff.

“Currently, offer documents to employees have to be lodged with ASIC and could result in the release of commercially sensitive information. We plan to limit the requirement for these documents to be made publicly available. The Government will also consult with industry on options to amend the disclosure requirements to make ESS more user-friendly.

“It’s also important that if a business gets into trouble, the operators and owners have a real opportunity to get themselves out of it.

“After considering the Productivity Commission’s Report on Business Set-up, Transfer and Closure, the Government has committed to making some initial changes to Australia’s insolvency laws, which currently focus too much on penalising and stigmatising business failure,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

The Government will:

  • introduce a safe harbour for directors from personal liability for insolvent trading if they appoint a restructuring adviser to develop a turnaround plan for the company; and
  • make ‘ipso facto’ clauses, which have the purpose of allowing contracts to be terminated solely due to an insolvency event, unenforceable if a company is undertaking a restructure.

“The Government is considering all the recommendations of the Productivity Commission and will have a full response in 2016.

“The Turnbull Government is implementing a National Platform for Economic Growth and Jobs and the NISA is a central part of this. These important measures will help build a stronger entrepreneurial culture in Australia,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

More information is available on the NISA website.