Peter Costello

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ASX-SFE Corporations Act Approval

NO.054

ASX-SFE CORPORATIONS ACT APPROVAL

I have today approved an application by the Australian Stock Exchange Limited (ASX) to hold 100% in the voting power of the SFE Corporation Limited (SFE) and relevant subsidiaries.

This approval is necessary for a merger between the ASX and the SFE to take place.

I have concluded that the proposed merger will provide efficiencies, allowing the merged entity to compete globally. The greater regional presence and increased financial and operational scale should position the merged entity to remain at the leading edge of technology and continue to develop innovative financial products to increase the attractive of investing in Australia or Australian capital markets.

Therefore, I am satisfied that the proposed merger is in the national interest.

On this basis, I have approved the ASX application made under subsection 851A(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (the Corporations Act) for the ASX to have voting power of 100% in the SFE and three of its subsidiaries — Sydney Futures Exchange Limited, SFE Clearing Corporation and Austraclear Limited.

I am conscious of the concerns expressed by some industry participants that the merger will create a monopoly which may deny access to potential competitors in the future. The operator of any alternative trading platform seeking access to the ASX’s clearing and settlement facilities should, in the first instance, seek to reach a commercial arrangement with it. I note that this has occurred in the past. There are also mechanisms under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the Corporations Act for access to be facilitated in the public interest in appropriate circumstances.

Canberra

6 June 2006

Contact:
David Alexander (02) 6277 7340

6 Jun 2006

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