Australia: Doing Business in Australia: The nine main regulators

Clayton Utz Insights
Last Updated: 30 June 2014
Article by Linda Evans and Bruce Lloyd

Most Read Contributor in Australia, November 2017

Key Points:

From competition to investment to taxation, you need to understand which regulator will affect your business in Australia.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

The ACCC administers the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (which incorporates the Australian Consumer Law, see page 47 for more information). In broad terms, the objectives of the Act are to promote competition and, together with similar provisions in State and Territory legislation, fair trading, and provide for consumer protection. It covers anti-competitive and unfair market practices, company mergers or acquisitions, product safety and product liability, and third party access to facilities of national significance.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

APRA is a statutory authority which was formed in 1998 to promote the prudent management of financial institutions. Its regulatory function extends to the supervision of banks, life insurers, building societies, credit unions, friendly societies and superannuation funds. APRA has the power to require financial organisations to observe prudential standards, and may intervene, where necessary, to protect the interests of depositors, policy-holders or members. In addition, APRA has far-reaching powers of investigation, intervention and administration.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

ASIC is the sole regulator of Australian registered companies and one of three Federal Government bodies that regulate financial services.

ASIC administers the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), the law regulating the incorporation, operations and management of companies. ASIC is therefore primarily responsible for regulating the conduct of corporations in Australia, and is also responsible for supporting the integrity of and fairness in company affairs and in financial markets.

ASIC's consumer protection function extends to the financial system by regulating the advising, selling and disclosure of financial products and financial services to consumers.

Australian Securities Exchange Limited (ASX)

The ASX was formed in 1987 and is the second largest securities exchange in the Asia-Pacific region. The ASX has markets trading in equities, derivatives, futures and fixed interest securities.There are branches of the ASX in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Chicago and London.The ASX listing rules ensure that the constitutions of listed companies include provisions regarding shareholder rights, such as the necessity of consulting shareholders over major transactions, and also ensure that listed companies observe certain standards with respect to market awareness and the provision of information.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

The Commissioner of Taxation has the overall responsibility for administering the Australian income tax system. The ATO, under the Commissioner of Taxation, is the statutory authority responsible for administering Australia's Federal taxation system and is also the primary collection agency for the Australian Government.

Australia's income tax law consists primarily of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth), the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth), as well as ATO administrative taxation rulings and court decisions. Fringe benefits provided to employees are subject to a separate taxation regime under the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (Cth). Australia's goods and services taxation law consists primarily of A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth). The current income tax system involves taxation of income and capital gains of individuals and businesses.

Australia has recently introduced a Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) which seeks to impose a tax on certain iron ore and coal mining operations. Another recent change has the been the extension of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) regime. However, as at the date of publication, the newly elected Federal Government has legislation to repeal the MRRT before the Senate.

The ATO administers the process of annual taxation self-assessment and conducts random audits to verify individual and company assessments. The ATO also collects excise on tobacco, fuel and petroleum products and alcohol, administers the Higher Education Loan Programme and the Private Health Insurance rebate, and has responsibility for the fiscal regulation of Australia's superannuation system.

Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)

The FIRB is a non-statutory organisation formed in 1976 within the Federal Treasury to provide foreign investment policy advice to the Treasurer and the Australian Federal Government.

The FIRB's function is to assess investment proposals submitted by foreign interests and to make recommendations to the Treasurer on the compatibility of those proposals with Government policy and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth). FIRB also provides information on the Government's policies to prospective foreign investors and potential investors alike.

Reserve bank of Australia (RBA)

The RBA is a statutory authority performing the country's central banking functions.The Bank is wholly owned by the Australian Federal Government and maintained assets of more than A$57,177 million as at October 2013.The RBA has two broad areas of responsibility: monetary policy and financial stability.

The RBA's monetary policy is primarily directed at maintaining inflation rates at the level most conducive to sustainable growth. The RBA's financial stability policy aims to prevent excessive risks in the financial system and to limit the effects of financial disturbances when they occur. Within this role, the RBA has a particular responsibility for maintaining the efficiency of the payments system. The RBA is governed by the Reserve Bank Board and the Payments System Board.

The RBA plays an active role in financial markets and the payments system and is responsible for issuing Australian currency notes. The Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations 1959 (Cth) confer upon the RBA responsibility for foreign exchange control.

IP Australia

IP Australia is the Federal Government agency that grants rights in patents, trade marks and designs in Australia. IP Australia is a division of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education but operates independently. It incorporates the Patent, Designs and Trade Marks Offices. The Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994 (Cth) system is administered by the Plant Breeder's Rights Office within IP Australia.

.au Domain Administration (auda)

The .au Domain Administration is an Australian non-profit company formed in 1999 as the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space.

You might also be interested in...

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions