The federal government has reaffirmed its commitment to enacting the remaining recommendations of the Quality of Advice Review (QAR), however, further industry consultation is necessary before legislation is tabled to enshrine them into law.
Assistant Treasurer and Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones said Treasury had heard the concerns of industry bodies in relation to the outstanding recommendations, specifically in regards to changes to the safe harbour rules and statements of advice, which were excluded from a draft bill released last week to legislate half of the QAR recommendations.
“This first tranche of legislation reflects the things the government could ask the drafters to write immediately. I know that there is eagerness to see needed changes to the statements of advice and you can add in the safe harbour steps as well,” Jones told delegates at the Financial Advice Association Australia Congress in Adelaide yesterday.
“Many were hoping that legislation to address these pain points was going to be released last week. To do this, we would have needed to draft changes immediately without industry input and hoped that they were fit‑for‑purpose.
“I believe the mistakes in this policy space in the last few years could have been avoided by working with industry rather than dictating to industry.
“So I reiterate that the government is committed to replacing statements of advice and removing the safe harbour steps. Further legislation will come in 2024.”
He clarified the interaction between the outstanding recommendations was one of the key reasons why they had yet to be adopted, despite previously announcing they would be implemented in the first stream of reforms to enact the QAR proposals.
“For one, the changes are interrelated. Removing the safe harbour steps affects the content of a statement of advice [and] so does expanding the advice role of superannuation funds,” he stated.
“I want to call on the industry to work with me on this, otherwise the government will simply have to cut through and set the approach and this may not be the outcome you want.
“So it is time for pragmatic solutions. It is important for the profession that we get this right.”