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FSC backs case for Australia to become a financial services hub

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The Financial Services Council (FSC) has supported calls to take advantage of an opportunity presented by turmoil in Hong Kong to make Australia an international financial services hub.

The FSC has already promoted policies, including abolishing stamp duties on insurance products, reforming taxes and encouraging new investment vehicles, that it says would build on the country’s existing strengths.

“We would welcome all efforts by the Australian Government to remove the barriers that are holding back Australia from growing as an international financial centre,” CEO Sally Loane said.

Liberal NSW Senator Andrew Bragg, who has previously held senior roles at the FSC, has published an article noting that the political upheaval in Hong Kong has created an opportunity for Australia and Sydney to become a stronger regional financial centre.

“This would deliver more jobs during the first recession in 30 years,” he says. “But there is a limited window for Australia to look at our current taxation and regulatory settings.”

Senator Bragg says Australia faces strong competition from Singapore in attracting capital and talent from Hong Kong.

The Federal Government, which will update the economic and fiscal outlook on Thursday, is continuing to look at measures to revive the economy. This year’s Budget will be handed down on October 6 after it was delayed from May due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The FSC proposes reducing the tax rate for all companies to 25%, completing a review of the significant investor visa program as a matter of urgency, and streamlining regulation.

“Reductions in Australian taxes and red tape would make our market much more attractive to overseas investors and improve our global standing,” Ms Loane said.