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Backlash over plans to scrap CAMAC

Backlash over plans to scrap CAMAC

Trish Hyde ACLA

Industry groups are rallying behind the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) following a Senate Economics Committee recommendation that the body be abolished.

The senate committee tabled a report on 17 March supporting the federal government’s Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee Abolition Bill proposing that CAMAC and its legal committee be consolidated into the Treasury.

Australian Corporate Lawyers Association CEO Trish Hyde (pictured) stressed the importance of an independent body like CAMAC in articulating the views and needs of business in law reform.

She also told Lawyers Weekly that general counsel “need to have a forum to view law reform through the lens of business practicality”.

The Governance Institute of Australia was more scathing of what it described as an “ill-conceived” proposal, and slammed the senate committee for ignoring “overwhelming opposition” to shutting down CAMAC.

The institute’s national director for policy, Judith Fox, claimed that 90 per cent of public submissions supported the retention of CAMAC.

“[The decision] not only makes a mockery of public consultation, but will also weaken Australia’s corporations regime over time,” she said.

“Without a body like CAMAC, Australia runs the risk of becoming hobbled by haphazard, politically motivated and poorly designed corporate law reforms which could impede our financial markets, at great cost to our economy.”

CAMAC currently operates in conjunction with Treasury in developing law reforms affecting companies. According to CAMAC’s most recent annual report, the small body is run by three full-time staff, including two lawyers, and costs about $1 million a year.

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