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Australia unveils roadmap for speeding changes to clean up banking sector

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Australia unveils roadmap for speeding changes to clean up banking sector
FILE PHOTO: A worker cleans up a water fountain in Sydney's central business district (CBD) Australia, February 5, 2018. Picture taken February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz   -   Copyright  DANIEL MUNOZ(Reuters)
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By Lidia Kelly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s treasurer on Sunday released a roadmap outlining how the government intends to push for swift implementation of recommendations from a high-powered inquiry for changes to help clean up the country’s financial sector.

A government-appointed inquiry, known as a Royal Commission, in February made 76 recommendations after months of revelations of financial wrongdoing against consumers that wiped billions of dollars off market capitalisation from finance stocks.

In recent months, some Australian media reports have said the government, to which 54 of the commission’s recommendations were directed, has been slow to take action to make needed change.

On Sunday, the government released a roadmap setting out how it will provide a comprehensive response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

The roadmap “underlines our determination to bring about change to the financial system by implementing the Commission’s recommendations swiftly and effectively,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was quoted in the document as saying.

The treasury pledged to implement more than 50 of the commitments or have legislation before the parliament by mid-2020.

An additional A$9.3 million (5.2 million pounds), on top of A$12.1 million in this year’s budget, will be provided to the Treasury and Office of Parliamentary Counsel to make sure the government’s timetable can be met, the treasury said.

“Industry is on notice,” Frydenberg said. “The public’s tolerance has been exhausted. They expect and we will ensure that the reforms are delivered and the behaviour of those in the sector reflects community expectations.”

A review on the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the government, regulators and financial services entities was recommended by the commission to be completed by 2022.

(Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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