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Prime Minister adds new fintech ministry role


fintech startup

The cabinet reshuffle will see Senator Jane Hume focused on financial technology.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed his new-look cabinet which includes a newly-created role for Senator Jane Hume. Taking on the role of Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Hume will focus on various financial regulatory matters including open banking and comprehensive credit reporting. A spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that Senator Hume would be working alongside the Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar.

The news was welcomed by Rebecca Schot-Guppy, GM of FinTech Australia who called it a "great step forward for the fintech industry."

"Navigating policy is a major challenge for fintechs and being able to work directly with a minister will help them better deliver products and services that improve competition and increase financial literacy," she said.

It's great timing for this newly created role. In the latest Startup Genome report released on 9 May 2019, Sydney fell six places to rank as the 23rd best startup ecosystem in the world. Melbourne failed to register in the top 30. Off the back of this report, StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley said the result was "disappointing, but not really a surprise."

"In 2015, Australia's leading ecosystem was 16th in the world. That slipped to 17th in 2017. Now, after some years in the political wilderness, the rest of the world is overtaking us. Reports like this remind us that local growth is great, but this is a global race with very real prize money and lots of competitors. We need consistent, long-term support to ensure we're a genuine contender."

Frameworks such as open banking will help to ensure Australia is supporting innovation, but there is work to be done with policies in this and other fintech-related areas. Open banking is due to start on July 1 but has already been delayed, with the banks now only having to have data ready for pilot testing by that date. The reaction to the 2018 budget from the fintech industry was also largely disappointment and many saw it as a missed opportunity.

McCauley said this wasn't a niche issue about hipsters in cafes playing with their laptops.

"This is about ensuring that Australia is a country where good ideas can flourish into global companies. If we don't have that right, we will not prosper in the 21st century. It's as simple as that."

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