Portfolio Regulation Reform

The Australian Government is strongly committed to the Regulatory Reform Agenda that aims to enhance innovation and improves the productivity and competitiveness of Australian industry. The agenda seeks to remove regulation that is inefficient or ineffective and ensure that it does not impose significant costs on individuals, businesses or the wider community.

Do you have a reform tip?

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science invites stakeholders to suggest opportunities for regulatory reform. The department oversees key sectors of the economy including the resources and energy sector, building and construction industry, the manufacturing sector, and participants in the innovation and research ecosystem. Let us know if you If you have a suggestion for reform in one of these sectors.

Major Achievements

Since the introduction of the Regulatory Reform Agenda in October 2013, the department has achieved regulatory reform savings, enhanced the delivery of the services it provides, and reduced the time and effort it takes business to access its programmes. Our portfolio delivered nearly $205.67 million in savings to Australian businesses, individuals and community organisations in 2014 (Annual Deregulation Report) and a further $166.6 million in 2015. In 2016, a further $68.45 million of savings was delivered.

Practical examples of initiatives undertaken include:

ATO Fix-it-Squad

In 2016 and 2017, the cross-agency fix-it squad delivered recommendations to help those taxpayers wanting to start a small business. Taxpayers now receive emails containing information and reminders throughout the first 12 months of registering for an ABN. This product will help people develop their business management knowledge.

The Industry portfolio led the redesign of the ‘Starting a business’ landing page on business.gov.au, created an engagement pack about developing business management knowledge for small business, and built a catalogue of government and other services to help small business set up and operate.

Revising the Enhanced Project By-law Scheme guidelines

The department introduced revised Enhanced Project By-law Scheme (EPBS) Policy and Administrative Guidelines. The revised guidelines reduce the regulatory burden on businesses by allowing Australian Industry Participation (AIP) plans approved under the Australian Jobs Act 2013 to be used by businesses when applying for tariff concessions under EPBS. Businesses subject to the Act are no longer required to develop, implement and report on a separate AIP plan for EPBS purposes, and it has also streamlined approval processes for these applicants.

Free online National Construction Code (NCC)

The Government played a lead role, together with the states and territories, in making the National Construction Code freely accessible online.  Businesses in the building and construction industry no longer have to pay an annual fee for obtaining the NCC saving them money and broadening the use of the NCC.  Since the change the subscriber base has moved from 12,000 users to over 90,000.  This outcome will also improve the building practices and quality of construction as buildings will be constructed in accordance with the NCC.

One stop shop for offshore petroleum environmental approvals

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Authority (NOPSEMA) in 2014 became the sole, designated assessor for environmental approvals within its jurisdiction.  The change removes requirements for projects to be separately assessed. This streamlines the approvals processes and reduces industry delay costs.

IP Australia - Outbound correspondence for patents in electronic format only

To improve communication with patent applicants, on 1 September 2014, IP Australia replaced hard copy correspondence with electronic correspondence for web based eServices and B2B customers. B2B facilitates the direct exchange of transactions between customers’ IT systems and IP Australia’s. This will make it easier and quicker for applicants to deal with IP Australia and enables the automation and simplification of business processes. It improves communication with private firms and saves them from having to scan paper correspondence into their electronic record-keeping systems.

Making it easier for business to access programmes

The department implemented the new Single Business Service initiative.  This makes it significantly easier for Australian businesses to access the range of programmes that the department delivers.
Businesses can now get information and help through one website – business.gov.au, one contact centre – 13 28 46, and our national network – AusIndustry to:

  • Get a business up and running
  • Develop and commercialise ideas and products
  • Improve, innovate and grow a business
  • Reach new markets.

Annual Reports

Annual Red Tape Reduction Report

The Annual Red Tape Reduction Report provides an update on the progress of the Government’s Regulatory Reform Agenda.  The latest version of the report provides an update on the regulatory savings that have been achieved across government. The report also details about the strengthened reform agenda that will ensure a continued commitment to regulatory reform across government.

Annual Red Tape Reduction Report 2015

Best Practice Regulation Report

The Best Practice Regulation Report provides an assessment of compliance with Australian Government and Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) best practice regulation requirements. Within this report is a status update that demonstrates portfolio’s compliance against Regulatory Impact Statement requirements within the reporting period.

Best Practice Regulation Report 2014-15

Other Regulation Reform Initiatives

International Standards and Risk Assessments

The department is committed to reducing the costs and delays for businesses and increasing the supply of products into the Australian market by better aligning with international standards and risk assessments. Specifically, where a system, service or product has been approved under a trusted international standard or risk assessment, the portfolio will not impose any additional requirements, unless there is a good and demonstrable reason to do so.

The department will use the following criteria to consider the use of international standards and risk assessments:

  • the legitimacy of trusted international standards and risk assessments;
  • whether any necessary Australian specific conditions or circumstances warrant distinct regulatory standards or risk assessment processes;
  • how reform might affect regulatory burden across all Australian jurisdictions, and how reforms could deliver on ministers’ red and green tape targets;
  • the ability of Australia to influence trusted international standards and risk assessments to ensure that Australian interests are taken into account;
  • costs and benefits of adopting trusted international regulatory standards;
  • adoption of a trusted international standard or risk assessment does not impose unnecessary or burdensome technical barriers to trade; and
  • stakeholder feedback and any other relevant considerations.

The department has developed a Best Practice Guide to Using Standards and Risk Assessments in Policy and Regulation to assist policy officers in assessing the suitability of standards or risk assessments for use in support of policy and programs. The guide provides a step-by-step guide on how to use standards and risk assessments in policy including: appropriate policy settings, standard and risk assessment selection, assessment of performance and outcomes, and adoption into policy frameworks.

If you have any examples of areas where our regulators can better align internationally, please take advantage of our suggestion form.

Regulator Performance Framework and Measures

Our portfolio regulators have assessed their performance against the mandatory Key Performance Indicators in the Government’s Regulator Performance Framework (RPF).

The RPF consists of six outcomes-based key performance indicators (KPIs) covering reducing regulatory burden, communications, risk-based and proportionate approaches, efficient and coordinated monitoring, transparency, and continuous improvement. It requires regulators to look at how they operate and the imposition they create when administering regulation. The RPF came into effect on 1 July 2015,—with the first assessment period being the 2015-16 financial year.

Regulators will self-assess annually and publish a report externally validated by stakeholders. The Growth Centres Advisory Council is the stakeholder consultation mechanism for three of the regulators and others have alternative mechanisms. These reports will identify the extent to which the regulator is achieving the RPF KPIs and highlight areas for improvement.

Portfolio regulators have developed their performance measures in consultation with their stakeholder consultation mechanisms. Performance measures approved by the Minister are below:

In line with the RPF, the self-assessment reports below have been verified by their respective stakeholder consultation mechanisms and endorsed by the Secretary.

Note: The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program and Greenhouse Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Regulator, which were previously reported on by this portfolio, were subject to a machinery of government change on 19 July 2016. Therefore, the responsibilities for the preparation of those regulators’ self-assessment reports fall to the Department of Environment and Energy.

Resources

Regulation Impact Statements

Portfolio Regulation Impact Statements can be found on the Office of Best Practice Regulation’s website. Please visit http://ris.dpmc.gov.au for more information.

Open Online Learning Course

An online learning course detailing Australia’s regulatory processes was launched in December 2015. The course is open to the public and can be accessed by visiting http://riamooc.com

Contact us

For more information on the Portfolio’s Regulatory Reform Agenda please contact deregulation@industry.gov.au.