Australian governance “fit and well”

Corporate governance among Australian companies appears fit and well, is professionally administered and – despite frequently expressed concerns to the contrary – is not overly costly, a report conducted by the University of Technology Centre for Corporate Governance has found.

The report – which surveyed a sample of 67 companies – described the standard of governance in Australia as “very high”, with evidence of intelligent engagement and professionalism being found across all sectors of Australian business, from the ASX 100 to smaller caps and unlisted companies.

Respondents to the survey considered that Australia has struck the right balance between self-regulation and prescriptive law. Companies found this particularly striking in contrast to the US, which they generally believe to have failed in finding a balance, being too prescriptive and costly for smaller companies.

Furthermore, the study reported that, despite controversy often raised in the business press, very few participants said corporate governance reform had resulted in them incurring significant costs.

However, the research identified the reporting of corporate social responsibility as the one area in which Australian companies are falling behind those in other countries. Indeed, it was suggested that the lack of a framework or greater impetus for reporting probably means businesses in Australia will not be covering these issues as comprehensively as those in the UK, Europe and Japan.

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