Coalition Senators make the following additional comments to the Chair's
report into the effect of policy and process to limit and reduce red tape.
The Senate Select Committee on Red Tape's inquiry into the burden of
government regulation and red tape has highlighted the complexity of Australia's
regulatory landscape, with two key concerns being the sheer volume of complex
regulation, and the number of regulations that are being duplicated by agencies
across multiple levels of government.
This helps explain why the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness
Report ranks Australia 80 out of 137 nations for the burden of government
As noted in the Chair's report, the Institute of Public Affairs estimates
red tape costs the Australian economy $176 billion every year in forgone
economic output, which is equivalent to 11 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
This is a staggering $19 300 for every Australian household.
This red tape burden falls disproportionately on small businesses and
entrepreneurs who, unlike big businesses, lack the legal and accounting
resources required for regulatory compliance. As a result, Australians are
becoming less entrepreneurial, with research by Canada's Fraser Institute finding
that Australia's small business entry rate had declined by 40 per cent between
2003–05 and 2012–14.
When the Coalition Government was elected it made a commitment to reduce
red tape by $1 billion annually. The Chair's report noted that four parliamentary
sitting days were set aside in 2014 and 2015 for cutting red tape. The
Government exceeded its target with $4.5 billion in red tape savings by
repealing over 10 000 legislative instruments and 3600 redundant statutes.
Since then, the Coalition Government's Regulatory Reform Agenda has cut
compliance costs for individuals, businesses, and community organisations by
removing a net $5.9 billion in red tape since being elected, as at 30 June
2017. The biggest single regulatory saving, worth $444 million, came from
abolishing the former Labor Government's Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal,
cutting costs for thousands of owner-drivers operating as small family
New measures are now needed to continue reducing the burden of red tape.
One option is to adopt measures to remove the number of 'restrictive clauses'
in legislation (words like 'shall' and 'must'), instead of more general
measures such as the pages of legislation passed. Another is to institute a 'one
in, two out' rule for new regulations, which will ensure there is a gradual and
continual reduction in red tape over time. These were the approaches taken by
the provincial government of British Columbia, Canada, which has succeeded in
cutting red tape by 48 per cent since 2001.
Since 2017, the committee has conducted inquiries into the impact of red
tape in the following areas: the sale, supply and taxation of alcohol; tobacco
retail; environmental assessment and approvals; pharmacy rules; health
services; childcare; occupational licensing; and private education. The Chair's
Report has made numerous recommendations aimed at further reducing the burden
of excessive regulation and red tape.
Coalition Senators support the Government's Deregulation Agenda and
welcome new initiatives that will further reduce the burden of unnecessary
regulation and red tape.
Senator James Paterson
Senator for Victoria
Senator Slade Brockman
Senator for Western Australia
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