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Labor scraps overblown business register project


A revamp of Australia's business register system has been ditched after an investigation found it would cost five times more than originally flagged.

The Labor government has called it quits on the troubled program that intended to streamline the task of registering a business in Australia.

A review of the modernisation program, started by the former coalition government, found it would cost as much as $2.8 billion to complete, more than five times the initial $490 million price tag.

The investigation also found it would take nearly a decade to complete rather than four years.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said the previous government needed to take responsibility for the delays and overblown budget.

"They simply didn't understand what they were doing - incompetent governance, incompetent project conception, all lies at the feet of the previous government," he told reporters on Monday.

"No responsible government could allow this program to continue, it's burning $12 million a month and that has to stop."

He said the over-reliance on consultants and extra labour had contributed to the project blowout.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will be in charge of delivering a scaled-back modernisation program.