Australian Business Register

The Australian Business Register (ABR) is the source of registered business information for entities operating in Australia. The ABR is heavily used by both private and government sectors to reduce the costs to business in interacting with government.

Achievements during the year included:

  • over 587 million Australian business number (ABN) searches through ABN Lookup, a 14% increase over 2014–15
  • enhanced integrity of business information
  • growth to over 500 partner agencies accessing the ABR
  • better access and analysis tools for partner agencies via ABR Explorer
  • connecting the first state government agency to the ABR directly through ABR Connect
  • an increase in the number of ABN applicants getting a decision on the spot
  • expanding Standard Business Reporting (SBR) to provide a wider range of options to receive business data.

ABR Board and SBR Board

Both the ABR Board and SBR Board were expanded to encompass a broader range of business stakeholders. This brings more diverse views from outside government, to developments in information technology for the work of both the ABR and SBR programs.

Digital Transformation Agenda

The Digital Transformation Agenda, a key priority for the government, was announced in 2015 with the aim of making it easier and more convenient for the public, including businesses, to interact with government.

The ATO supports the agenda through the ABR and SBR programs, providing businesses with the opportunity to use streamlined digital services to communicate directly with government agencies. In 2015–16, we liaised with a range of agencies at all levels of government to support them in advancing the agenda.

Digital Business Council

Following the SBR Board’s endorsement to extend SBR-compatible standards for e-invoicing, the Digital Business Council (the Council) was established in late 2015 to create a national framework of standards for exchanging data. The Council published a national framework for e-invoicing this year.

The ATO provides secretariat support services to the Council, which has a broad range of business stakeholders, including large and small business groups, business intermediaries and software developers.