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Government scraps financial services ministry

The new government, under Scott Morrison’s leadership, will no longer comprise a Minister for Revenue and Financial Services.

Treasurer turned Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the make-up of his new ministry, with former Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer appointed as Minister for Job, Industrial Relations and Women.

There will be no replacement for Ms O’Dwyer’s previous position, which she held since July 2016.

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The revenue and financial services ministry was involved in the formation of the new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which consolidates three external dispute resolution schemes (the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, and the Credit and Investment Ombudsman) to provide individual and small business consumers access to “free, fast and binding dispute” resolution at a single destination.

Prior to the cabinet reshuffle, the former financial services minister stressed that the AFCA would be established with specific accountability mechanisms, including a requirement to report annually on activity to Ms O’Dwyer and to undergo regular independent reviews.

In the absence of a financial services minister, AFCA clarified that it will report to Liberal senator and newly-appointed Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert. The authority is still consulting on the rules that would define its jurisdictional parameters as well as its future funding arrangements.

Former Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg has replaced Mr Morrison as Treasurer, while Liberal senator Zed Seselja has been announced as the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance.

Meanwhile, Michaela Cash, the former Jobs and Innovation Minister, is taking on the Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Training portfolio, while former Small Business Minister Craig Laundy is moving to the backbench. 

Cash’s appointment marks the fifth ministerial change in the small business portfolio in three years, after Bruce Billson departed in September 2015. Mr Billson was replaced by Ms O’Dwyer, before the post was taken up by Michael McCormack (who has been appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development) and then Mr Laundy.

Since Mr Morrison’s new prime ministership and cabinet reshuffle were announced over the last few days, Labor’s two-party lead over the Liberals escalated to 56-44, compared to 51-49 two weeks ago.

The new ministry is being sworn in on Tuesday, 28 August.

[Related: Turnbull deposed, new PM to take office]

Government scraps financial services ministry
government, financial services, Scott Morrison, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
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