On 28 May 2012, a new national business names registration system commenced in Australia.  Previously, each State and Territory operated its own business name registration system.  The new centralised regime, which is operated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC),  consolidates these registers and will reduce the administrative burdens and costs associated with the previous system - businesses now only need to register or renew their name once with ASIC and pay a single fee. 

All business names previously held on the State/ Territory based registers have been migrated across to the new national register.  Whilst this is automatic and business name owners do not need to do anything to ensure that the transfer process is completed,  owners should check the ASIC Register to ensure that all details have been transferred correctly.  

There are some points to note about the transfer process. First, where a business name is identical to a registered business name from another State or Territory,  ASIC may incorporate a geographical identifier to the name on the Register, but this is not part of the name and will not need to be displayed publicly. Secondly, where business owners own the same business name in multiple jurisdictions, all business names will have transitioned to the national business names register, meaning that some owners may still have multiple identical business names registered to them. To minimise the need to manage multiple business names, business name owners may elect to let duplicate business names expire or cancel duplicate business names and only renew the business name with the latest renewal date.