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ANU Strategic Plan 2021-2025


This plan is about the future. Here, we articulate bold ambitions for The Australian National University (ANU) and the nation we serve.

The future of ANU will be built on the success of our first 75 years. Our extraordinary graduates continue to lead meaningful change in every part of the world. Our scholars maintain global standards of excellence in their research and teaching activities, and many thriving companies and transformational public policy ideas have originated on our campus.

Creating ANU was a courageous and visionary response to a time of crisis - one that also focused on the future. Ours was the first new university in Australia for 40 years, the first research-led institution, and the first national university.

Prime Minister Ben Chifley, speaking in an election address in 1949 about the value of Australia's new national university, said "scientific research is a necessity for the maintenance of our standard of living and even for our survival".

The truth in those words has never been more evident than when ANU staff and students supported the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, using their expertise in service of our communities.

Uniquely, our ANU community is the entire nation. We engage with First Nations Peoples and Australia's modern multicultural society to help understand our nation's place in an ever-changing world. 

Our community is again looking to their university to help navigate the disruption through which we live. We aim to partner with the Commonwealth and its people to continue the work of our founders in similarly challenging global times: national renewal supported by a national university.   

At the heart of our plan is a simple principle, enshrined in our previous 2017-21 strategy: that we will invest in, and insist on, excellence everywhere. As Australia's only national university, in receipt of National Institutes funding, this is nothing less than our community expects and deserves.

We aspire to strengthen the bond that exists between ANU and Australia based on trust and engagement. We will use our expertise as a national resource, challenging orthodoxies to transform society in the spirit of fairness.

While our responsibilities are to Australia, our horizons are global. The legacy of our long-standing international engagement and expertise has delivered ANU unrivalled impact beyond our borders, particularly throughout Asia and the Pacific.

Our campus will be used to discuss the evidence and data underneath the most intractable issues. We will listen to, learn from and work with First Nations Peoples as we champion a just and meaningful reconciliation built on equity and engagement.

Our student experience will be equal to the best in the world. Our range of programs will respond to the needs of our nation and our students, and our institutional culture will distinguish ANU from other universities. We will innovate in the classroom: research-informed learning delivered seamlessly across physical and digital spaces.

Our research will be second to none in quality and impact. We will continue to attract the most exciting academic talent globally and support their success.

We will provide the platforms and investment to enable the co-creation of new approaches to interdisciplinary problem-solving and support our academics to realise the possibilities of their discoveries in society and business.

As we develop our research translation and business development activities, we will continue to champion the value of pure research as the building blocks of all new knowledge: "first, to know the nature of things."

We want our campus and community to be the best place to work and study in Australia, a welcoming and safe place for all.

It will be a magnet for talented people from every part of the world, built on a commitment to equity as the platform for excellence.

As we work to bring our vision to life, our values will guide and inform us, and we will continue to deliver on the mission set for ANU in 1946: "bring credit to Australia, advance the cause of learning and research in general, and take its rightful place among the great universities of the world."  

The Hon Julie Bishop                                                      Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC FAA

Chancellor                                                                         Vice-Chancellor and President

Reference Documents

  • ANU Strategic Plan 2021-25 (PDF, 1.33 MB)
  • ANU Strategic Plan 2021-2025 'plan on a page' (PDF, 75.42 KB)

Use contact details to request an alternative file format.

  • Office of the Vice-Chancellor
  • +61 2 6125 2510

A Strategic Plan for Australia’s Payments System

Strategic Plan for Australia's Payments System 451.64 KB

Strategic Plan for Australia's Payments System 1.14 MB

The Government is releasing its Strategic Plan for the future of Australia’s payments system which sets out its policy objectives and priorities for the payments system.

The Strategic Plan was developed through a consultation process in collaboration with regulators, industry, consumer and business representatives.

The Strategic Plan provides businesses with certainty and clarity on the Government’s approach to important issues in the payments system, allowing businesses to invest with certainty and innovate. The Strategic Plan also outlines the Government’s commitment to ensuring that Australia’s payments system is safe, affordable, can be trusted and will remain readily accessible.

The Strategic Plan will be reviewed on an 18 month review cycle. This will allow the Government to report on its progress against its objectives and priorities, and ensure the Strategic Plan is responsive to advances in technology, competition and changes in consumer demand.

Related content

  • Strategic Plan for the Payments System: Consultation Paper consultation

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In the spirit of reconciliation, the Treasury acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

  • ABN: 92 802 414 793

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Strategic Plan 2021-2026

Navigating shared futures.

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Global Asia Society Statement of Purpose

The Asia Society’s purpose is to navigate shared futures for Asia and the world across policy, business, arts and culture, education, sustainability, and technology.

We strive to be Australia’s leading global think-tank dedicated to Asia, focussing on the interplay between business and policy.

We connect business, policy and society, helping Australians to understand and engage with Asia and to navigate our shared futures.

Our Mission

Our mission is to prepare Australians for deeper and sustainable engagement with a more complex Asia.

  • Excellence: we provide world-class expertise, a region-wide perspective and a global outlook.
  • Independence: we are an independent, non-partisan, non-political, non-profit organisation with a national mission.
  • Diversity and inclusion: We are a champion of diversity - of regional outlook, of culture, of opinion and of our Asian-Australian communities. 
  • Respect and integrity: We value every member of our network for the contribution they make to our success.  We act with the highest standards to encourage freedom of expression, creativity, collegiality, and robust and respectful debate.

Our Value Proposition

Inform and inspire: We provide a global perspective – with an Australian focus -  to geopolitical, economic, business and social trends and developments across Asia to help and inspire Australian leaders and organisations make informed decisions, achieve business outcomes and engage effectively and sustainably with Asia.

Connect and contribute: We connect Australian leaders, organisations and communities with each other, with their peers in Asia and across the Asia Society’s global network, to build relationships, share insights, develop understanding and contribute to solutions for our shared future.

Empower: We develop Australia’s capability to engage with Asia, to strengthen our prosperity and security, and to enable greater contribution of our communities to Australia’s shared future in Asia.

Our goals for Asia Society Australia are:

  • to be the leading voice in Australia about Asia’s business, politics and society, and to be a leading voice about Australia in Asia; 
  • to be a truly national institution and a digital-first organisation, with the national centre in Melbourne, an office in Sydney and accessible across Australia and globally through face-to-face and digital platforms;
  • to be a leading contributor to solving the national policy challenges of building deeper economic, political and people relationships, and a better understanding of the cultures across Asia, pursuing shared aspirations, and managing strategic challenges with our partners in Asia; and
  • to expand our in-house expertise, strengthen our reputation as a champion and a convenor of informed debate and dialogue, and to be a major contributor to Asia Society’s global programs and publications.

Our Priorities

Our strategic priorities are linked to the major challenges and opportunities that are facing Australia and Asia.

Broaden and deepen our understanding of a complex Asia

Challenge: Australia is living in an increasingly contested region. Geopolitics and economics, business and policy, digital and climate change issues in Asia are increasingly complex and intertwined, and are affecting Australia’s relations across Asia.

Our focus: Build a deeper understanding of geopolitical and economic trends in Asia, and their influence on Australia, and the broad range of relationships which Australia must develop and manage across Asia and as being a part of Asia.

Trade and invest smarter to grow faster

Challenge: Australia is diversifying its trade and investment partnerships and facing an intensifying competition for capital, markets and talent. Our limited business presence across Asia, relatively narrow economic base and under-developed Asia capabilities and understanding have been accentuated by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the digital revolution and the changing geopolitical environment.  These factors combine to create a powerful impetus for Australia to develop new economic partners across Asia and to lead innovation in trade.

Our focus: Help inform Australia’s trade and investment expansion and innovation, including in digital trade. Work with business and government to inform the design, implementation and advocacy of solutions and pathways to developing sustainable trade and investment partnerships in Asia. 

Learning to live with China

Challenge: Australia’s relationship with China has deteriorated as a result of political and strategic differences, distrust and the US-China competition. Yet China will continue to be one of Australia’s largest trading partners, and be a major global and regional economic power.

Our focus: Help inform the development of a more sustainable relationship with China. Contribute to shaping the next chapter of Australia’s economic engagement with China by building a better understanding of the Chinese economy, political system and policy-making, and how they impact Australia.

Create opportunities for the new Generation Asia

Challenge: Australia’s cultural, linguistic, business and professional literacy about Asia is being eroded by declining funding, the COVID-19 pandemic, policy apathy, and geopolitical and trade tensions. The next generation of Australians will be the most adversely affected by these challenges. Yet, digital transformation, demographic changes and accelerating global interconnectivity offer new solutions to improve our Asia capabilities.

Our focus: Reimagine Asia literacy and empower the next generation of Asia-engaged leaders by embedding cultural intelligence in everything we do; by showcasing Australian-Asian leadership and expertise; by promoting innovation in Asia literacy; by increasing accessibility of our content and programming to the broader community and to the younger generations; and by leveraging our platform, including Asia 21, to empower Asia-focused youth initiatives.

Asia Society Australia 2021-2026 Strategic Plan Infographic

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Our five-year strategic plan revolves around the key pillars of Reputation, Reach, Relevance and Revenue. In our Annual Review each year, we also set out the current activities aligned to these objectives and the measures of success to track their achievements.

Strategic Plan 2020–25

For the five financial years commencing 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2025. ‍

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Our mission

Empowering communities

To fulfil our mission and vision, the plan focuses our resources on four strategic objectives:

1. Reputation

Standards Australia is recognised for the value we add to industry, government, and the community. We are a trusted adviser to policymakers and industry leaders and have a strong community brand. We’re investing in technology and changing how we work with our customers and contributors to make their experience better every day. Our people and their collective capability are our greatest asset and strongest brand ambassadors.

More Australians use our trusted solutions to help keep people safe, build economic value and sustain communities and development. Our solutions are trusted, compelling and easy to use. Our international influence is strong, connecting Australia to the world.

3. Relevance

Innovation and change are at the core of what we do. We help build new technologies, systems, and industries every day. Our solutions help solve problems and deliver products and services. We empower communities. We support traditional and new industries. Our members, contributors and staff reflect a contemporary, diverse and inclusive Australia. We contribute to community discussion and debate and are known for our insights.

Our role as Australia’s national standards body is supported by solid financial management and revenue generating business activities that support our role in the economy. Our customers and partners understand the value of our work which they use to generate greater public and private value across the economy.

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Mission Australia’s 20-25 Strategy

Mission Australia is a national Christian charity that has been standing alongside Australians in need since 1859. Our vision is for an Australia where all of us have a safe home and can thrive.

Four areas of focus

In 2020, we launched Mission Australia’s 20-25 Strategy with a vision for an Australia where all of us have a safe home and can thrive. Our strategy has four areas of focus:

1. Helping end homelessness in Australia

We’re focused on helping end homelessness in Australia by increasing the impact of our services and advocating alongside our sector partners.

With more than 160 years of experience, we help people to tackle the root causes of their challenges and enable them to participate fully in society.

  • Support individuals to sustain tenancies
  • Grow pathways out of homelessness
  • Grow units managed to 6000+ by 2025 across 3-4 geographies
  • Influence homelessness policy changes
  • Grow social housing funding
  • Grow aged care

Our actions

  • Prioritise homelessness prevention
  • Housing First approach across homelessness services
  • Target stable housing for all people leaving our services
  • High quality social housing
  • Courageously advocate for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness
  • Change perceptions of disadvantage

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2. Partnering to strengthen communities

We believe postcodes should never limit futures so we’re partnering to strengthen communities through tailored approaches for long-term positive change.

  • Commence 5 Communities of Focus partnerships by 2025
  • Open community hubs
  • Strengthen communities
  • Partner with churches
  • Build an evidence base of community change
  • Build local leaders for systemic change
  • Adopt a place based approach
  • Favour depth not breadth to multiply impact
  • Build a portfolio of local services for the long term
  • Investing in physical community infrastructure to integrate services
  • Work with local churches
  • Demonstrate impact through local and long-term measures
  • Develop local people to meet community needs

our strategy strengthen community

3. Supporting people in need to thrive

We’re passionate about helping people in need to thrive by providing and advocating for early intervention services that increase their wellbeing.

  • Strategically shape our service portfolio
  • Grow Alcohol and Other Drugs rehab beds
  • Pro-actively pursue commissioning approaches with government
  • Early and effective referrals
  • Measure our impact consistently
  • Courageously advocate for vulnerable cohorts
  • Focused business development
  • Early intervention
  • Advocate and serve young people
  • Provide wrap around support for people with multiple needs
  • Championing new service commissioning approaches

our strategy supporting thrive

4. Driving excellence

We’re driving excellence by constantly improving quality across everything we do, sharing expertise with others and multiplying our impact.

  • Know our clients
  • Adopt digital tools to augment service delivery
  • Track client satisfaction
  • Complete longitudinal research
  • Maintain staff engagement
  • Measure staff performance
  • Lift staff attraction and retention
  • Share knowledge
  • Live out our Operating Principles
  • Innovate with digital solutions
  • Equip staff to serve clients
  • Equip staff with the tools they need
  • Support continuous learning
  • Grow workforce diversity
  • Report our impact
  • Support sector knowledge sharing
  • Client participation

20150623 MissionAus 09 1636

Download our 20-25 Strategy

See our FY23 Strategy update

See our FY22 Strategy update

Six areas of impact growth

Mission Australia has identified six areas of growth that are essential in meeting our strategic purpose:

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Housing growth

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Aged care growth

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Youth Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services

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Youth Foyers

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Communities of Focus

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Integrated models of housing and support

See our FY23 business plan

Mission Australia stands together with Australians in need, until they can stand for themselves.

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Read about what we’ve been working on, our stance on important social issues and how you make a difference to vulnerable Australians' lives.

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Our founding purpose - 'Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God'

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Essential Guide to Strategic Planning

Strategic planning maps the initiatives and investments required to achieve long‑⁠term strategic objectives. Here’s how to do it well.

Strategic Planning Template

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Strategic planning that works — even in volatile times

Just 29% of strategists say their organisations change plans fast enough to respond to disruption. What’s the problem? Most often, unclear objectives, poor strategic planning processes and disengaged business leaders.

Use this guide to:

Turn your strategy into action faster

Combat 7 mistakes  common to strategic planning

  • Capture and communicate your plans with an  exclusive one-page template

4 Critical Things to Know About Strategic Planning

Especially in times of disruption, it is key to understand what strategic planning is and does, what assumptions you need and how to leverage the value of adaptive strategy and scenario planning.

  • What is strat planning?
  • Strategic assumptions
  • Scenario planning
  • Adaptive strategy

Strategy and strategic plans: How they are different and why it matters

Strategy creates a common understanding of what an organisation wants to achieve and what it needs to do to meet its goals. Strategic plans bridge the gap from overall direction to specific projects and day-to-day actions that ultimately execute the strategy. Job No. 1 is to know the difference between strategy and strategic plans—and why it matters.

  • Strategy defines the long-term direction of the enterprise. It articulates what the enterprise will do to compete and succeed in its chosen markets or, for the public sector, what the agency will do to achieve its mission.
  • Strategic planning defines how the enterprise will realise its strategic ambitions in the midterm. Too often, strategic plans are created and then forgotten until the next planning cycle begins. A well-done strategic plan turns an enterprise strategy into a clear road map of initiatives, actions and investments required to execute the strategy and meet business goals.
  • Functional strategic plans document the choices and actions needed for the function to move from the current state to the desired end state, and contribute effectively to the enterprise business model and goals.
  • Business unit strategic plans define and finalise business unit goals, objectives and initiatives, while cognisant of enterprise priorities and external trends. 
  • Operational plans deal with the short-term execution of specific projects and changes, as well as any operational tasks not contained in the strategic plan.

What Is Strategic Planning?

If you are responsible for functional strategy, such as IT , create strategic frameworks focussed only on what is material—critical assumptions, relevant metrics and the key initiatives your function needs to contribute effectively to organisational goals, even as those goals shift.

Look out for key trends and disruptions and test strategic assumptions

It is critical to scan and respond to trends and disruptions that could impact your strategy and strategic plans—and change your strategic assumptions. Strategic planning cycles should incorporate some mechanism to vet assumptions for relevance (also see ‘Scenario Planning’).

Ignoring or devaluing trends and disruptions can leave critical gaps in both your strategic assumptions and your strategic planning process, because you may be overlooking both threats and opportunities for your value proposition and competitive positioning.

One Gartner survey found that only 38% of organisations have a formal process for this type of trend spotting. Gartner scopes the seven key areas of disruptive change as a ‘TPESTRE’ of interconnected trend areas (see figure). 

Executives across functions and teams can use the TPESTRE construct to identify key trends at any time—from augmented human experience to purpose-driven organisations and digitally enabled sustainability—and analyse their impact. From there, they can build strategic assumptions around the trends as they begin to map what actions might be needed in terms of business models, people/capabilities, IT systems and resources.

After sudden humanitarian or geopolitical disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a framework like TPESTRE can help you identify and monitor a range of risks that may affect your enterprise or function and you may need to include in scenario planning. 

Strategic Planning Trends

Scenario planning as a strategic planning tool for functions

Scenario planning enables executives and their teams to explore and evaluate plausible alternative futures to make strategic plans more robust and resilient. Pandemic-related disruption and volatility showed the importance of leveraging a range of scenarios to reset business strategy and strategic plans. 

Commonly used by strategists at the organisational level, scenario planning at the functional level is just as valuable. Many functional leaders have little experience with strategic scenario planning, even though they may regularly work with their CFO to build budget and forecast scenarios. Those who can learn and apply scenario planning in strategic planning can help their organisation navigate volatile and dynamic conditions more effectively, especially in areas like supply chain , where disruption remains high.

Exploring scenarios enables you to determine suitable action plans or strategies for different possible futures. It reveals how to react to a specific future and which set of actions would make sense no matter what conditions ultimately unfold. 

For leaders of functional teams, developing scenarios and their underlying assumptions is in itself a useful exercise to corroborate or challenge strategies and keep them current.

The objective of scenario planning is to secure the best immediate outcome while preparing suitable alternative action plans, depending on how a situation unfolds. Proactively agreeing on both near-term operational decisions and long-term strategic plans will reduce the time it takes you to respond to emerging risks and opportunities. This can help your function pre-empt, rather than reactively control for, the negative effects of a major event or disruption.

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Additional resources:

  • Guide to Scenario Planning for Functional Leaders
  • Scenario Planning for Supply Chain Leaders
  • Scenario Planning Ignition Guide for Marketing
  • Strengthen Your R&D Portfolio With Scenario Planning

Use adaptive strategic planning to enable a dynamic response

In an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, strategy can rapidly become out of date. To address this challenge, strategic planning must be adaptive. The faster the rate of change in operating conditions and the more disruptions you need to integrate into long-term strategy, the more adaptive your strategy models must be.

An adaptive strategy approach is what ensures your organisation can spot new opportunities earlier and respond more quickly than your competitors, making you most likely to succeed in a dynamic digital world.

A truly adaptive strategy approach is consistent with four core practices (see figure) designed to move the enterprise from a rigid, top-down, calendar-based process to a more event-driven strategy approach. Functional strategy can incorporate the same principles. While a truly adaptive approach will be based on all four core practices, functional leaders can initially focus on the practices that address their immediate strategy challenges. 

Rather than requiring perfect or complete information to execute, adaptive strategy uses available information to identify immediate actions required for an enterprise or function to be successful. These actions may range from focussing on high-priority areas to making foundational investments or conducting experiments to test ideas. You can use insights from these actions, along with any new information and analysis, to identify your next set of actions.

Adaptive strategy requires you to review strategy whenever new (and relevant) information becomes available, so it is important to continually scan the business context to identify changes and review—and, where necessary, adjust—strategy in response to changes. (Also see ‘Strategic Assumptions’.)

australia strategic plan

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What is strategic planning.

“Strategy” creates a common understanding of what the enterprise wants to achieve and what it needs to do to achieve it. Strategic plans bridge the gap from that overall direction to the specific projects and day-to-day actions that ultimately  execute the strategy .

What are the four types of strategic planning and the three levels of strategic planning?

Strategic planning starts with setting strategy at the enterprise level, but that strategy must then be turned into action. The three levels of strategic planning typically refer to corporate vs. business unit and functional. The four types of plans are typically strategic, operational, tactical and contingency.

What steps are involved in the strategic planning process?

An effective strategic plan helps leaders improve the focus on, and responsiveness to, planning activities critical to achieving their long-term strategy. Leaders responsible for functional strategy can use strategic frameworks to focus their teams on what’s most material. 

What are the steps involved in the strategic planning process?

To build a successful strategic plan with a consistent and sequential process,  functional leaders  should:

  • Ensure consistent usage of terms to minimize confusion in strategic planning and set a baseline for collaboration.
  • Build a strong foundation for more detailed planning by setting or pressure-testing mission, vision and goal statements first.
  • Streamline stakeholder input by limiting mission, vision and goal setting to senior leadership, and leaving objective, action plan, measure and metric development to managers with execution expertise.

What are the key elements of strategic planning?

The key elements of a successful strategic plan include:

  • Mission and vision.  The organization’s mission articulates its reasons for being, and the vision lays out where the organization hopes to be. The strategic plan, which links the two, must be adaptive enough to respond if the context changes during execution.
  • Strategic assumptions.  To build a successful strategic plan, leadership should scope for trends and disruptions, and assess their potential impact on enterprise goals.
  • Strategic plan design.  A rigorous strategic planning design effectively translates the strategy into plans that can and will be executed. Poor plans lead to poor execution.

What are the key terms in strategic planning?

  • Mission:  Organization’s purpose 
  • Vision:  Desired future state 
  • Goal:  Aim 
  • Objective:  How to reach goals 
  • Action plan:  What’s needed to achieve objectives 
  • Measures and metrics:  To track progress toward goals 

How do we design a strategic planning system?

Strategic planning “systems” refer to the tools used to document strategic plans. Gartner urges organizations not to focus on strategy in terms of the document they’re creating, but instead focus on turning strategy into an easily communicated action plan.

What is a strategic action plan?

The strategic action plan is a formal document that serves as the primary source of information for how objectives will be executed, monitored, controlled and closed. Many organizations also deploy an associated but separate “action plan” for achieving the operating model. 

What are strategic measures and metrics?

Measures are observable outcomes that allow organizations to evaluate the efficacy of their action plans. Metrics quantify those observed changes to enable an organization to concretely quantify its progress and stay aligned to its chosen measures.

Drive stronger performance on your mission-critical priorities.

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  • Australia: Strategic plan set to expand licensing and regulatory oversight of payment industry

Australia: Strategic plan set to expand licensing and regulatory oversight of payment industry

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Last week, in announcing its Strategic Plan for Australia's Payments System ( Strategic Plan ) Treasury has provided the clearest direction to date on how it plans to modernise and revamp the regulatory framework for payments in Australia. It outlines the Australian Government's key priorities and initiatives for modernising and regulating payments systems in coming years. This announcement follows a very broad consultation on its strategic plan released earlier in the year (read our earlier update here ) and a number of reviews undertaken in this space. It also follows the announcement of Treasury's intention to adapt the existing credit licensing framework to regulate Buy Now Pay Later ( BNPL ) providers (read our earlier update here ). 

The Strategic Plan covers a broad range of themes that focus on future-proofing the frameworks and systems that facilitate the full spectrum of payments within, into and out of Australia. The plan is ambitious and will likely impact multiple industries and regulatory bodies and all payment facilitators, scheme operators and providers large and small.

Key takeaways

Strategic plan.

  • Consultation Paper: Reforms to the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998
  • Consultation Paper: Payments system modernisation (Licensing: Defining payment functions)

The plan includes:

  • safety and security initiatives to combat the recent increase of payment scams and frauds
  • updating the payments regulatory framework including a new licensing framework
  • broader and flexible ministerial powers to tackle evolving payments systems that develop
  • transitioning away from BECS and cheques
  • transitioning to the New Payments Platform
  • maintaining the ability to transact in cash
  • further alignment with open banking and the Consumer Data Rights framework
  • specific targets for ensuring cross-border payments are cheaper, faster, more transparent

A part of this announcement and to already take steps towards some of these aims, two consultation papers were also released with fairly tight timelines for making submissions:

  • Proposed reforms to the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 (PSRA): The Government is seeking to expand the regulatory perimeter of the PSRA and introduce Ministerial powers to more efficiently respond to evolving issues and seeks feedback on its proposed approach ( available here ).
  • Licensing: Defining Payment Functions: Consultation on the introduction of a tiered licensing framework for Payment Service Providers ( PSPs ) proposed to fit within the current Australian financial services licensing ( AFSL ) framework but potentially standing on its own. The focus of this paper is to determine definitions and descriptions for the full range of PSPs and payment products that operate in Australia based on their payment functions and determine which of these should be subject to licensing and regulatory oversight ( available here ).

While many of the proposals remain at a high level, clearly there are multiple sectors involved in various stages of payment initiation, facilitation or processing that have until now relied on a narrow approach to regulation of non-cash payments that excludes their industry or product offering.  By listing potential entity types for each of the proposed payment functions, these industries are on notice to remain close to the progression of these proposals and to be prepared to take steps to become licensed once it becomes likely that this is necessary. This includes (amongst other roles and products): digital wallets, merchant acquirers, payment gateways and processors, payment routing, payment stablecoins, BNPL virtual cards and services that allow payment initiation.

There are also a wide range of those involved in payments that rely on the broad range of exemptions currently in place. Consideration of whether this continues to be the case for your business and whether yours is a service that may fall under one of the new payment function categories is a step you could already be looking at.

Please contact our team if you have any queries in relation to your current or planned activities or the likely scope of the proposed licensing framework.

The Strategic Plan for Australia's Payments System includes an outline of Treasury's key priorities and supporting initiatives under the following headings.

1. Promoting a safe and resilient system

The Treasury aims to provide a safe and secure manner in which Australians can transact. A reduction in the prevalence of scams and fraud is on measure to protect consumers. In achieving this, the Treasury has pledged to establish a National Anti-Scam Centre, and is also set to consult on options for the development of new industry codes across various sectors, including banks, telecommunications and digital platforms. A new payments licensing framework is also set to be developed to bolster consumer protections (which is detailed further in the second consultation paper).

Rapid technological developments are stated to provide a growing threat of cyber incidents. The Australian Government is set to release its Cyber Security Strategy 2023-2030 in 2023, to aid in strengthening defences against cyber-attacks. Industry wide migration towards the safer Advanced Encryption Standard has also been pledged to be achieved across the industry by 2025.

These rapid technological advancements are also more susceptible to system outages, malfunctions and flow-on impacts resulting from external shocks. Hence, there is a need for payments systems being more operationally resilient and secure in the face of cyber threats. In attempting to curb the effect of such outages, the RBA and the Payment Systems Board, which currently supervise systematically important systems, will also be supervising prominent payment systems such as the NPP, Visa, Mastercard and eftpos. A consultation by the RBA is expected on the development and implementation of an updated framework for the supervision of prominent payment systems.

2. Updating the payments regulatory framework

The PSRA will be updated to reflect modern definitions of 'payment system' and 'participant' and to provide greater coverage of the legislative provisions. Introduction of Ministerial powers have also been proposed to provide the Australian Government greater ambit in responding to issues which may be beyond the remit of independent regulators where issues are of a 'national interest'.

The current consultation on the new licensing framework for payment service providers, will soon be supplemented by a second round of consultation in late 2023. Following the outcomes of the consultation process, introduction of legislation for the new payments licensing regime may be on the cards (this is detailed further in the first consultation paper).

3. Modernising payments infrastructure

In the hopes of modernising the existing payments infrastructure, Treasury is set to consult with relevant Commonwealth, state and territory agencies, on transitioning away from the use of cheques. In light of this, changes to existing legislation will likely entrench the use and acceptance of cheques. Similarly, the use of the Bulk Electronic Clearing System ( BECS ) will also be transitioned away from. However, despite the substantial decline in the use of cash as a method of payment, the Australian Government will be in favour of supporting Australians in having continued access to cash 'for as long as Australians want to use cash'.

4. Uplifting competition, productivity and innovation across the economy

The Consumer Data Rights framework ( CDR framework ) enabled consumers to instruct accredited third parties to initiate actions on their behalf. The Treasury is set to continue working with stakeholders on understanding how the CDR framework works and aligns with developments within the payments systems. The Treasury will also ensure the widespread use of Digital ID is considered in relation to the design and creation of policy and legislation. This will ultimately allow the transition to an economy-wide Digital ID ecosystem.

In ensuring greater innovation across the economy, the Treasury will work on tackling digital skill shortages by investing in local training and skills development. In line with innovation, the Treasury will also consult on the safe and responsible use of AI, hoping to increase community trust and confidence in the technology.

5. Australia as a leader in the global payments landscape  

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring Australia remains a technological innovation leader. However, the key to achieving this is greater industry coordination. In aiming to achieve this, the Australian Government is set to host an industry stakeholder roundtable for the payments systems. The Strategic Plan also sets out the specific targets for ensuring cross-border payments are cheaper, faster, more transparent and more accessible for 2027. The RBA and the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre (DFCRD) is also set to report on the Central Bank Digital Currency pilot in mid-2023.

Consultation Paper: Reforms to the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998

The paper broadly addresses proposed reforms to expand the application of the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 ( PSRA ) and introduce Ministerial powers to designate new and developing payment systems to be subject to regulatory oversight.

Feedback on the proposals raised are due 5 July. 

1. Expanding the 'Payment System' scope

A proposal to expand the current definition of 'Payment System' under section 7 of the PSRA to provide wider regulatory coverage. Specifically, this definition is to apply to 'transfers of value' instead of being limited to 'funds transfer systems which facilitate the circulation of money'. This is set to ensure newer and more complex payments systems are adequately caught and regulated under the PSRA, where it is in the 'public interest' to do so.

Expanding the coverage of 'Payment System', which is currently interpreted as being limited to only 'multilateral arrangements', will ensure that both multilateral and bilateral arrangements are governed by the provisions, thereby extending to both 'third party' and 'closed loop' systems. Expansion of the definition to a more technology neutral approach referring to 'value' rather than 'funds' will also ensure non-monetary digital assets for payments are caught under the PSRA.

There are also proposed changes for the definition of 'participant' to ensure the legislative provisions can be applied to all entities which play a role in the payments value chain. This is intended to capture entities which will not be directly caught as members of a payment system, but which still play an important role in facilitating or enabling payments. This proposal has the potential to capture digital wallets which store digital representations of payment cards or other payment services and be subject to RBA standards or specific regulation.

The updates hope to provide a principle-based definition which are at risk of becoming quickly outdated given the rapid nature of technological advancements. This approach is in line with other jurisdictions.

2. Introduction of Ministerial powers

Currently, only the RBA has designation powers to act on issues in the 'public interest', and to give directions to regulators to develop regulatory rules in response. However, this is currently viewed as precluding the government and regulators from quickly addressing payments issues that arise. Most recently this has been raised in relation to the BNPL industry.

Proposals have been made for government intervention powers where emerging payments issues of national concern arise. Such government oversight is intended to address the increased complexity of payments issues and the acceleration of financial innovation.

Proposed new powers will enable Treasury to direct regulators to develop specific rules for payments systems and to 'designate' specific payments systems on the basis of 'national interest' grounds.

3. Further reforms

Further proposals relate to expanded information gathering powers, ability to accept court enforceable undertakings from payment system participants (replacing the current practice of accepting voluntary undertakings), reform of the penalties framework to also introduce civil penalty provisions and obligations to rectify breaches and consultation to address whether the mechanism to resolve differences between the Government and the RBA continues to be appropriate.

Consultation Paper: Payments system modernisation (Licensing: Defining payment functions)

This consultation focusses on determining the appropriate scope of payment related activities that should be subject to licensing and regulatory oversight. It attempts to map out definitions and descriptions for the broad range of payment activities based on their payment functions, with high level proposals setting out the extent to which each should be licensed.

Feedback on the proposals raised are due 19 July.

1. Outline of proposals

  • There are seven proposed payment functions, each with significant overlap. It is proposed that PSPs performing several functions will only require one licence specifying the payment functions they are authorised to perform.
  • The payments licensing framework could be implemented under the current AFSL regime or through the establishment of a separate regulatory framework, however, the proposals seem to support the former.
  • To simplify the process of obtaining different authorisations, ASIC is proposed as the single point of contact through which PSPs should be able to apply for various authorisations, without having to go to multiple regulators. This is consistent with it being licensed within the AFSL framework.
  • Certain payment services are proposed to be exempt or excluded from being a financial product or requiring an AFSL.
  • Proposed obligations for various payment functions include, in some combination (all of which are described in more detail below): Base Requirements, Prudential Requirements, and/or Common access requirements.
  • A number of existing exemptions that apply to particular non-cash payment facilities are expressly stated as being inconsistent with the new licensing framework and are to be reconsidered.

2. Payment functions - Definitions and entities

The paper includes a table of the following seven proposed payment functions and their descriptions (see full table on page 10 of the paper ). The table also usefully lists example entities that would fall within each heading.

Essentially it is proposed that these will replace the existing concept of a facility through which a person makes non-cash payments.

The functions listed and defined are:

  • 1. Issuance of traditional payment accounts or facilities
  • 2. Issuance of payment stablecoins
  • 3. Issuance of payment instruments
  • 4. Payment initiation services
  • 5. Payment facilitation, authentication, authorisation and processing services
  • 6. Payments clearing and settlement services
  • 7. Money transfer services

Feedback is being sought as to whether certain requirements (such as licensing, disclosure, design and distribution obligations, and the hawking prohibition) should be 'switched off' for certain functions or activities, such as payments clearing and settlement which is not consumer facing.

3. Exemptions and exclusions

Treasury is proposing to maintain a number of well established exclusions and exemptions for low-value and limited-purpose facilities, and to provide certainty for these in legislation or regulations.

However it is also proposed to reconsider the following exemptions that are stated as being inconsistent with the proposed regime:

  • exchange and settlement between non-cash payment providers
  • one-off electronic funds transfers
  • payments debited to a credit facility
  • unlicensed product issuers that use licensed intermediaries
  • relief given to specified entities and non-cash payment facilities on individual basis

3. Proposed obligation and risk-based characterisations

The paper includes an appendix of proposed obligations for different payment functions (see full appendix on page 35 of the paper ). The table is split among four tiers of payment providers that are proposed to attract different obligations.

4. International regulatory frameworks

Countries such as the EU, UK, Singapore, and China all have similar frameworks which define payment services. The proposals in this Consultation Paper are stated to draw on EU/UK's list of payment functions and their e-money institution authorisation framework.

The EU is also currently reviewing which services should be added to their list of payment services (e.g., digital wallet services, crypto asset payments, BNPL services, payment processing, and operating payment systems), which Treasury is monitoring.

Each consultation paper features a series of 'consultation questions' for interested stakeholders to provide feedback. These questions range from agreement with high-level principles and objectives to specific initiatives proposed. We encourage participation in the Government's consultations and will provide further updates as and when further consultation papers or reports are released and as the proposals progress.

Please contact our team if you have any queries or require any assistance with making a submission or if you have any queries in relation to your current or planned activities or the likely scope of the proposed licensing framework.

The first Consultation Paper closes 7 July 2023 and the second is open until 19 July 2023.

Copyright © 2024 Baker & McKenzie. All rights reserved. Ownership : This documentation and content (Content) is a proprietary resource owned exclusively by Baker McKenzie (meaning Baker & McKenzie International and its member firms). The Content is protected under international copyright conventions. Use of this Content does not of itself create a contractual relationship, nor any attorney/client relationship, between Baker McKenzie and any person. Non-reliance and exclusion : All Content is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal and regulatory developments. All summaries of the laws, regulations and practice are subject to change. The Content is not offered as legal or professional advice for any specific matter. It is not intended to be a substitute for reference to (and compliance with) the detailed provisions of applicable laws, rules, regulations or forms. Legal advice should always be sought before taking any action or refraining from taking any action based on any Content. Baker McKenzie and the editors and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the Content and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the Content. The Content may contain links to external websites and external websites may link to the Content. Baker McKenzie is not responsible for the content or operation of any such external sites and disclaims all liability, howsoever occurring, in respect of the content or operation of any such external websites.  Attorney Advertising : This Content may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. To the extent that this Content may qualify as Attorney Advertising, PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME. Reproduction : Reproduction of reasonable portions of the Content is permitted provided that (i) such reproductions are made available free of charge and for non-commercial purposes, (ii) such reproductions are properly attributed to Baker McKenzie, (iii) the portion of the Content being reproduced is not altered or made available in a manner that modifies the Content or presents the Content being reproduced in a false light and (iv) notice is made to the disclaimers included on the Content. The permission to re-copy does not allow for incorporation of any substantial portion of the Content in any work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form or for commercial purposes.

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The importance of strategic plans


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Easy to recommend, harder to implement effectively.

Much has been said over the years about the importance of strategic plans. Advisors often recommend that clients take the time to develop a strategic plan for their business, invoking the old adage, "Failing to plan is planning to fail."

As an insolvency practitioner with 34 years of experience, I can confidently say that I can count on one hand the number of failed businesses that had taken the time to document and (at least try to) follow a strategic plan.

But strategic plans are not just for clients; they are equally important (if not more so) for professional advisors' own businesses. This holds true for Worrells as well. Whether your business operates nationally, at the state level, or within a local community, you are an owner, an employee, a tenant, a trade creditor, and a taxpayer. Your business is important to you and deserves an investment in strategic thinking.

Drawing from my experience in assisting with the preparation and implementation of strategic plans for Worrells Queensland, I offer some observations that might be relevant to your business. Here are some key points:

Engage with stakeholders

You cannot prepare a strategic plan in isolation from stakeholders, particularly the business owners. Regardless of how dispersed in interest or location, without engagement, you risk preparing a strategic plan that is not worth the paper it is written on. Moreover, you run the very real risk of the business owners not buying into it or being committed to its success.

Talk to people. Listen to what is important to them. Recognise problems and discuss solutions. Document these discussions. Set expectations regarding actions, timelines, and responsibilities. Ensure that local objectives are part of the broader strategy.

Document and revisit

A strategic plan is only as good as its execution, and this is where action plans come into play. Action plans break down the strategic plan into manageable, actionable steps that can be tracked and measured.

  • Define specific tasks : Clearly outline the tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve the strategic goals. Each task should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Assign responsibilities : Allocate tasks to specific team members or departments. Ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and provide them with the necessary resources and support.
  • Set deadlines : Establish realistic timelines for each task. Regularly review these deadlines to ensure the project stays on track and adjust as needed.
  • Monitor progress : Implement a system for tracking progress. This could involve regular check-ins, progress reports, or project management tools. Monitoring ensures accountability and helps identify any issues early on.
  • Evaluate and adjust : Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your action plans. Be willing to make adjustments based on what is working and what is not. Flexibility is key to responding to changing circumstances and new information.

Asking for help

We are all busy with our day-to-day business lives. While it may be tempting to Google a plan outline or recycle last years, do not be afraid to ask for help. Many organisations specialise in strategic planning. While there may be a cost involved, you should assess this cost against the potential benefits, just as you would with any business decision. Just as you would not service your own car or build your own home, getting expert input for your strategic plan is crucial to getting it right.

Be invested

At the end of the day, a strategic plan will only succeed if you are both financially and emotionally invested in it. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone with new ideas and concepts, and consider bringing in an external facilitator to assist.

Recognise that your strategic plan is a living document that evolves with your business. It should reflect the needs of the business owners and inspire and drive performance for better outcomes.

Measure your outcomes

Be willing to recognise what has worked and what has not. Regular check-ins keep the strategic plan at the forefront of everyone's mind. Learn from mistakes and celebrate successes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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