The Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019 is currently on its second reading in the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament, the other being the Senate. It is sometimes called the ‘people’s house’ or the ‘house of government’.
This Bill creates new offences that apply if an entity makes or accepts cash payments with a value that equals or exceeds the cash payment limit of $10,000. However, the offence does not apply if the payment is either of a kind specified in the rules made under the Bill or made or accepted in circumstances of a kind specified in the rules.
The Treasurer may specify how to convert an amount of foreign or digital currency into Australian dollars in the rules made under the Bill. This Bill also provides rules, similar to the rules that apply in the context of the taxation law and under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, about the consequences that apply when an offence is committed by an entity that is not a legal person.
Cash is increasingly being replaced with various forms of electronic non-cash payments. These most commonly involve the use of debt or credit arrangements facilitated by banks and other payment system providers which, whilst generally designated in Australian currency, are forms of contractual arrangement between parties.
These alternative payment methods are often more convenient for consumers or businesses and increasing involve a lower costs as they simplify record keeping and avoid the security, insurance and other costs associated with handling and holding large amounts of cash. They also generally offer significant regulatory benefits as they typically create clear records of transactions. As a result there are economic benefits arising from the growing use of these alternative payment methods.
To give effect to this limit, this Bill establishes new offences for entities that make or accept cash payments that equal or exceed the cash payment limit of $10,000. The use of criminal sanctions reflects the harm to the wider community that was identified in the Final Report of the Black Economy Taskforce. The use of an effective deterrent is required to change existing practices that have facilitated participation in black economy and particularly the use of cash payments to conceal income and criminal activity.
Tim Hayter, Principal, Mid West Lawyers
This information is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought for your particular circumstances.