$35m war chest to fight corporate crime
The government has announced that the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia will expand to include corporate crime, with the coalition government providing more than $35 million in the 2019-20 budget.
The funding will support the appointment of two judges, 11 registry and support staff and the construction of new court facilities for the hearing of criminal proceedings.
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“Restoring trust in Australia’s financial sector is part of the Coalition government’s plan for a stronger economy and a secure and better Australia,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
“Referrals arising out of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry and increased enforcement activity as a result of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s shift to a ‘why not litigate’ approach are expected to give rise to more criminal prosecutions.
“Criminal prosecutions for misconduct by banks and other financial institutions are currently heard in state courts and hence have to compete with state cases for resources and scheduling.”
Commissioner Hayne emphasised that effective deterrence relies on the timely instigation of proceedings.
As such, Mr Frydenberg said the coalition government is going beyond the recommendations in the final report to provide additional capacity within the Australian court system to allow matters to be heard and penalties for criminal breaches of the law to be handed out faster.
“The funding builds on $9.9 million provided in November 2018 to the Federal Court to fund the appointment of additional resources, including two new judges to support civil cases, and $41.6 million to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute briefs from the ASIC,” he said.