Trans Tasman Accounting Standards Advisory Group - Minutes

2.30pm, Monday 21 February 2005

AASB Offices, Level 4, 530 Collins Street Melbourne.

Participants:

Jim Murphy (Treasury - Aust) - Chairman
Charles Macek (Financial Reporting Council - Aust)
Professor David Boymal (Australian Accounting Standards Board)
Warwick Hunt (Accounting Standards Review Board - NZ) – by telephone
Joanna Perry (Financial Reporting Standards Board - NZ)
Peter Mumford (Ministry of Economic Development - NZ)
Bill Palmer (Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia)
Patricia McBride (CPA Australia)
Kerstin Wijeyewardene (Treasury - Aust)
Geoff Connor (Ministry of Economic Development - NZ) – by telephone
Peter Taft (Treasury - Aust)

Agenda Items

Agenda item 1: Preliminaries

Apologies

Apologies were noted from Stephen Harrison (Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia) and Greg Larsen (CPA Australia). Bill Palmer was representing the ICAA in Stephen’s place, and Patricia McBride was representing CPA Australia in Greg’s place.

Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Group held in Sydney on 7 December 2004 had been circulated for comment and, following minor changes, placed on the Trans Tasman Group web page at the FRC website during December.

Report to Ministers

Following discussion at the last TTASAG meeting, the Report to Ministers was finalised and forwarded to the Australian Treasurer and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer on 4 February 2005. The Report was expected to be forwarded to the New Zealand Minister of Commerce shortly. The Report is available on the Trans-Tasman page on the FRC website.

Ministerial Meeting

The Group noted that the Australian Treasurer and the New Zealand Minister of Finance had met on Thursday 17 February and stated their support for joint institutions in the area of financial reporting standards.

Cross Appointments

The Group noted that Mr Warwick Hunt had been appointed to the FRC for a term of three years commencing on 9 February 2005. The appointment of Mr Charles Macek to the Accounting Standards Review Board was progressing and is expected to be finalised shortly. Ms Joanna Perry’s term on the AASB commenced on 1 January 2005, and Mr David Boymal’s term on the FRSB commenced in February 2005.

Co-operation between the AASB and FRSB

The Group was advised that the two Boards would draft a protocol setting out their co operative arrangements, for consideration by TTASAG at its next meeting. The protocol would largely codify existing practice. However there will be a number of issues to work through due to the two Boards having different statuses (the AASB being a statutory body while the FRSB was part of the professional accounting body). The two Chairmen will attend the planning and strategy sessions for both Boards.

Agenda item 2: Regional forum on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

At its last meeting, the Group agreed that Australia and New Zealand should host a regional forum on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and asked the Commonwealth Treasury to give further consideration to the viability and logistics involved in holding the forum, including the time and location, guest list, programme and funding. Following further consultation with TTASAG members since the last meeting, Commonwealth Treasury commenced organisation of the forum and advised that meeting of the following developments:

  • The forum would be held in Sydney on Monday 24 October 2005, and the venue would be finalised in the next few weeks.
  • Jim Murphy wrote to members of TTASAG seeking funding of the forum. Positive responses were received, indicating that the forum would be financially viable.
  • Invitations have been sent by Jim Murphy and Ken Henry, Secretary to the Australian Treasury, to government policy advisors, standard-setting and oversight boards, and professional bodies from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and China.
  • An informal inquiry had been made regarding the availability of Sir David Tweedie to address the forum, and this was followed up by a formal invitation.

The meeting discussed the forum programme, invitation list, and budget.

Members of the Group made suggestions to the draft programme, which will be revised and circulated to members. It was agreed that there would be three major sessions, one focusing on current developments in the region and the others focusing on interaction with international developments and the need for regional co-operation. Sessions will be based on there being one speaker and a panel leading discussion.

The Group agreed that representatives from Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines would also be invited. Business representatives from Australia and New Zealand would be invited to attend the forum dinner. While members of the FRC and ASRB (other than the Chairmen) would not be formally invited, they will be able to indicate their interest in attending the forum, with the expectation that a small number from each will be allowed to attend. Commonwealth Treasury will liaise with the office of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury concerning attendance by the media. The Group also discussed options for guest speakers and the forum facilitator.

Agenda item 3: Review of the New Zealand Financial Reporting Act 1993

The Group noted the progress of the review, which is considering a number of issues which will directly impact on the reporting requirements of companies operating in both countries. These include the institutional arrangements and the reporting obligations for different categories of entities. Due to the required timetable to have legislation in place by 2006, the major policy decisions would be made by May 2005.

Members of the Group provided comment on a draft submission to the Review to be made on behalf of TTASAG. The thrust of the submission is that the institutional structure to be enacted in New Zealand for the development and regulation of financial reporting standards following the review should, as far as possible, allow for co operation with equivalent Australian bodies, with a view to working towards joint institutions in the future. It was agreed that amendments to the draft would be made, and the submission circulated before being formally provided to the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development.

Agenda item 4: General Business

The Group agreed to meet next in May, possibly to coincide with that month’s AASB meeting. It was also agreed that the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development would take over the secretarial role for the Group, while Australia would maintain the Chairmanship of TTASAG until after the regional forum.

List of Proposed Actions

  • The Report to Ministers to be forwarded to relevant parties in New Zealand (MED).
  • TTASAG members to be updated when Charles Macek’s appointment to the ASRB is finalised, with the possibility of an announcement (MED, Treasury).
  • A protocol for co-operation between the AASB and FRSB to be drafted (AASB, FRSB).
  • Work to continue on the regional forum on IFRS, including on the programme (a further draft to be circulated) and invitations to parties yet to be invited (Treasury).
  • The submission to the review of New Zealand’s Financial Reporting Act to be finalised and circulated to members for final approval (Treasury).
  • The next meeting date to be set (MED).