Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison isn’t wasting any time preparing for majority government. Just one week after claiming an unexpected victory at the polls, the Liberal-National Coalition leader has announced what the next federal government will look like.
While most of the key posts in the previous Turnbull-Morrison government will remain unchanged, a number of changes have been announced both inside and outside the Cabinet — including a minister for fintech.
Stuart Robert, who had responsibility for the financial services portfolio during the banking royal commission as assistant treasurer, has been promoted to Cabinet as minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and minister for government services.
Also within the treasury portfolio, Melbourne MP Michael Sukkar has been promoted from assistant minister to the treasurer to assistant treasurer and Senator Jane Hume has taken on the role of assistant minister for superannuation, financial Services and financial technology.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed to Business Insider Australia that Hume’s role is a newly-created one and she would work alongside the assistant treasurer.
The new role, which has specific responsibility for “financial technology,” comes just days after leaders in the Australian tech sector – including FinTech Australia general manager Rebecca Schot-Guppy – called for a greater focus on innovation and startup support from the Morrison government.
According to Charlotte Petris, co-founder of fintech startup Timelio, having a dedicated minister to focus on fintech is “so crucial for the development of the industry”.
“There is a direct correlation between regulation and innovation, and the best way to improve competition in financial services is to make it easier for new entrants to get up and running,” she says.
“This is always the biggest challenge in a highly-regulated industry like finance.”
Hume is a member of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, which handles a range of inquiries relevant to her new role including the ‘comprehensive credit reporting’ regime forcing the banks to share data, which the fintech industry has been lobbying for.
Petris and Alan Tsen, chair of FinTech Australia, are looking to Hume to bring the focus back to new regulatory frameworks that may have fallen by the wayside.