Embracing technology for more jobs and consumer choice

I am delighted to be Chairing the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology because it goes to the heart of two things I care about – jobs and choice.

Financial Technology does not cost jobs, it creates jobs.

Australian jobs rely on our ability to innovate.

And I believe we need to open the pathways to Australian innovation.

I also want Australians to have more choice, especially when it comes to banking, superannuation and telcos.

The Committee is tasked with investigating the size and scope of opportunity for Australian consumers and business arising from FinTech and RegTech, and barriers to the uptake of new technologies in the financial sector.

So far the Committee has received more than140 submissions with valuable insights into how Australia can do it smarter, and prosper in this space.

Already we’ve heard from dozens of witnesses in our public hearings in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra – and certain themes are emerging.

A big focus has been on the competitive landscape in financial services.  We must consider whether we need a stronger competition mandate for regulators.

We have taken on board concerns about anti-competitive behaviour in financial services in relation to open banking; digital data capture and buy now pay later schemes.

I want Australian start-ups to succeed. I want to see more Australian start-ups follow in the footsteps of Atlassian, Afterpay and Airtasker.  These are success stories at home and abroad providing millions of customers with great products and thousands of Australian jobs.

I want to examine whether some of our laws are out of date for today’s new digital world and whether they are fit for purpose.

We are looking at five big buckets on how to promote this growth and prosperity: capital and funding, tax, skills and talent, culture and regulation.

Because of the COVID-19 crisis the committee has been extended by six months to May 2021.

The charter of this inquiry is simple yet ambitious – to make Australia globally competitive with nations which have nailed technology for job creation: Singapore, Israel and the United States.

I stress the inquiry is not about politics– it is about creating a more dynamic, competitive economy for everyone.

And that is all about creating jobs.