Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg to act ‘immediately’

Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg to act ‘immediately’

Home loans won’t be harder to get because of a crackdown on shoddy business practices by lenders, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg pledged this evening.

And any disruption caused by the royal commission was now over, he said.

Mr Frydenberg was speaking soon after the public release of Kenneth Hayne’s damning royal commission report on the financial sector and the government’s acceptance of his 76 recommendations.

“I think all home buyers and lenders will benefit from these recommendations,” he told reporters.

But he outlined tougher policing of financial institutions such as banks and superannuation funds, and endorsed less timidity in confronting poor practices which hurt consumers and borrowers.

“What Commissioner Hayne has done is shine a light on misconduct in the sector which has not only been in breach of existing law but has fallen well below community expectations,” said the Treasurer.

Labor’s shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the opposition would back government legislation to implement the Hayne measures but questioned whether there would be time in the curtailed parliamentary sitting period — which has to include the April 2 federal budget — before the election, which is expected in mid-May.

Mr Frydenberg said the government would move “immediately” on legislation increasing penalties for breaching of standards by trustees and company directors.

And he rejected Labor’s arguments that the action on misconduct should have happened more than a year ago, but was delayed by the government’s persistent rejection of the royal commission proposal.

“It is actually the government that’s been delivering better consumer outcomes for Australians with reforms that we’ve been making,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Both sides of parliament will now watch the economic impact of the royal commission and the government response, with home buyers a particular focus.

Mr Frydenberg said the flow of bank credit was below the 10-year average because of a number of factors.

“One of the factors no doubt has been the existence of the royal commission,” he said.

And that meant the inquiry would not be extended and would not need to be extended.

“(Commissioner Hayne) has heard from more than 10,000 submissions, all of which have been read, taken into account,” said the Treasurer.

“When you are looking at a key artery of the economy — namely, the financial system — you don’t want to be working on it longer than you have to because you don’t want to introduce an element of uncertainty.

“That uncertainty has now been lifted.”

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