A Royal Commission into the finance broking sector could delay efforts to recover investors’ funds and freeze investigations into those suspected of wrongdoing.
Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave said this in response to the report of the select committee into the finance broking industry tabled in Parliament yesterday.
“As I said at the time of establishing the Gunning Inquiry, Royal Commissions can effectively bring to a halt investigations while they are being held,” he said.
“That is the reason why the Government opted for the Gunning Inquiry.
“That this was the right decision is shown by the fact that during the course of the Gunning investigations 16 people have been charged with more than 300 offences, a key broker has been sentenced to prison for 10 years and investigations by police and other agencies are continuing.
“In addition Government funded supervisors are maintaining their efforts to recover investors’ funds and examinations of a bank and auditors of their roles.”
Mr Shave said the Gunning committee’s interim report into the finance broking sector made 28 wide ranging recommendations that had been accepted in principle.
“Those recommendations have been used to draft legislation to be introduced as soon as possible in the next session of Parliament,” he said.
The Gunning Committee is due to present its final report to the Government on December 15.
“I am not going to pre-empt what may be in that report and what its recommendations will be but they will be fully considered by the Government,” Mr Shave said.
“A Royal Commission or yet another inquiry could put all these initiatives on hold.”
The Minister said the motives of some people who called for a Royal Commission when they appeared before the Travers committee were questionable.
“Some refused to make submissions to the Gunning Inquiry and did everything they could to undermine its work,”
Mr Shave said.
“If they had made their claims of widespread collusion to the Gunning committee, its term of reference obliged it to refer such claims and evidence to the appropriate authorities for action.”
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