Australia’s Senate Committee on Economics Legislation has finally provided feedback on the cryptocurrency bill introduced by Senator Andrew Bragg.
On Sept. 4, the committee shared its opinion on the draft bill, referred to as The Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023, with the committee recommending that the Senate not pass the bill and that the government continue to research the topic instead.
In a dissenting report, Senators Bragg and Dean Smith offered a more supportive view of the bill, suggesting the Senate pass it with minor amendments, such as removing the nonfungible tokens (NFTs) from the definition of regulated digital assets.
Among other recommendations, the dissenting lawmakers asked the bill authors to exclude certain asset-based tokens — potentially including the Gold and Silver Standard and the BetaCarbon Token — from the definition of a stablecoin. They also asked to extend the transition period from three to nine months.
In the report, Bragg and Smith urged the Board of Taxation to review the tax treatment of digital assets and transactions in Australia with a target to introduce legislation in early 2024.
They added that the government should implement in full the recommendations of the Council of Financial Regulators for potential policy responses to debanking in Australia. The Australian Department of the Treasury previously admitted that the growing trend of banks cutting services to cryptocurrency firms could lead to unwanted consequences, such as driving the industry underground.
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“The committee inquiry has demonstrated that the government’s approach to digital asset regulation is hurting Australian consumers and investment,” the dissenting report reads, adding that the bill is the “first serious step towards implementing a comprehensive digital asset regulatory framework.”
“The government has junked the ambitious crypto agenda of the former liberal government, and Australians will pay the price.”
Senator Bragg introduced the Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023 in March, aiming to “protect consumers and promote investors.” The draft bill provides regulatory recommendations for stablecoins, licensing of exchanges and custody requirements.
This latest report by the Senate committee comes a while after it was originally expected. The committee initially planned to provide a report on the bill by Aug. 2 but sought an extension of the reporting date to Aug. 16. The deadline was subsequently extended to Aug. 25 and then to Sept. 4.
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Update (Sept. 4 at 4:25 pm UTC): This article has been updated to clarify that the committee has officially recommended the bill not be passed and that the suggestions mentioned in this article are primarily from the committee’s dissenting report.