New regime for Employee Share Ownership proposed – November 2016

Filed under: Economy and Finance, Economy, Trade and industry, Investment,

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer has released a discussion paper titled ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda – Employee Share Schemes’ for consultation.

She said the consultation fulfilled part of the Government's commitments under the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).

She said the NISA measures would drive prosperity by putting innovation and science “at the centre of the Government’s economic narrative”. Innovation and entrepreneurship was central to economic growth, job creation and future prosperity.

“As part of the NISA, the Government is taking steps to make it easier for employers to provide incentives to their employees through Employee Share Schemes (ESS).” In particular, the Government had committed to:

  • limit the requirement for disclosure documents given to employees under an eligible ESS, and lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, to be made available to the public; and
  • consult on options to amend the disclosure requirements to make ESS more user-friendly.

The draft legislation would amend the Corporations Act to fulfil the first of these commitments. The draft legislation has been published on the Treasury website.

The Government is also investigating additional measures which could further improve the attractuiveness of ESS.

A consultation paper on additional options to make ESS more user friendly is also available at the Treasury website. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the consultation paper by lodging a submission online. Submissions for this consultation will close on 7 December 2016.

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