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Director Identification Numbers and Modernising Business Registers program

On 12 June, the Australian Federal Government passed legislation introducing the Director Identification Number (DIN) scheme, which will require each director to register to obtain a unique identifying number. The DIN will act as a unique identifier that will be kept permanently, even after the director has left the role. 

The DIN requirement will allow companies to clearly identify all Board positions held by a director to identify conflicts of interests or prior involvement with failed companies. 

Directors must apply to ASIC for a DIN and prospective directors may apply for a DIN up to 12 months prior to appointment. Once identification requirements are met, a DIN will be issued to the director. Criminal and civil penalties apply for multiple DINs or misrepresentation. 

The DIN scheme is being introduced as part of the Government's Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program, to prevent illegal phoenix activity and prevent directors from registering under different names to escape liability.

As part of the new Deregulation Agenda, the MBR Program will unify the Australian Business Register (ABR) and 31 registers administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on a contemporary, digital registry system. This includes the registers for companies, business names, Australian business numbers (ABN) and others.

The unified Commonwealth business registers will be operated by the Australian Business Register, and:

  • make it easier for businesses to meet their registration obligations – leaving them with more time to focus on their customers and business operations
  • make business information more trusted and valuable
  • improve the efficiency of registry service transactions.

It is expected for these changes to come into effect in the first half of 2021.

Zara Bryan, Associations Forum, 13 July 2020

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