Finding ways to cut red tape

| May 16, 2012

You can’t run a business in Australia without some level of red tape, but when does paperwork become an unnecessary burden?

Senator Arthur Sinodinos calls for contributions to Global Access Partners’ online consultation on the Cost of Red Tape.

In December Tony Abbott appointed me Chair of the Coalition Deregulation Taskforce, with Senator David Bushby of Tasmania and Kelly O’Dwyer MP, the Member for Higgins, as Deputy Chairs to find ways to cut red tape and the compliance burden on business by $1 billion a year.

In 2007 the Labor government made a firm commitment to remove one existing regulation for every new one it would introduce. The Labor government introduced more than sixteen thousand pages of legislation and repealed less than one hundred. The Productivity Commission estimates that reducing red tape can increase the national economy by $12 billion.

The Coalition Taskforce hit the ground running, immediately reaching out to small and large businesses and kicking off a series of consultations in Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra. We are also visiting businesses on the NSW Central Coast, in Darwin, Geelong, Townsville, Devonport, Launceston and other regional centres.

The Global Access Partners – Cost of Red Tape Online Consultation is another way for the Taskforce to reach out to as many businesses as possible.

Entrepreneurs and CEOs are sharing with us real-life cases that have illustrated the significant challenges that various industry sectors are facing. For example, it took a company nine months to register a medical device in the United States but four and a half years to register the same device in Australia. An anti-bacterial hand-rub cost $400,000 to register when the same product with a different dye can be put on the market without registration for less than $3000.

The average GP spends almost five hours (or half a day a week) complying with what the AMA says are government red tape requirements rather than treating patients. It is not possible to share a birthday cake in some aged care facilities without signing a disclaimer form. Centrelink paperwork has to be filled in every six weeks by an employer giving work to people who are on part-benefits.

To address deregulation effectively, real change is needed, cultural change. A culture of personal responsibility combined with appropriate management of risk by government agencies is required.

I look forward to your contribution.

We are building on the feedback we are receiving as well on research into national and international models of regulation management and red tape reduction to deliver lower business costs. Our target is a saving of at least $1 billion a year.

Our final report is due on 1 July this year.

Arthur Sinodinos is a Liberal Senator for New South Wales and Chairman of the Coalition Deregulation Taskforce, which aims to reduce the burden of compliance and red tape on business by $1 billion per annum. Prior to joining the federal Parliament, he held key roles with Goldman Sachs, JB Were and with the National Australia Bank, following nine years as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, the Hon. John Howard and years of service at the Commonwealth Treasury and the federal Department of Finance. Senator Sinodinos was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2008.

We ask you click through to the Red Tape Consultation area and share your experiences by answering the following questions. We welcome you to provide anecdotal evidence and any supporting material to explain your circumstances.

The online consultation will start on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 and close at 5.00pm AEST on Friday, 15 June 2012.