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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 6 June 2013) . . Page.. 2372 ..

The red tape reduction panel is an output of the government’s policy for supporting the private sector—“growth, diversification and jobs: a business development strategy for the ACT”. That strategy sets out how the government will accelerate business innovation, support business investment and foster the right business environment so as to grow the ACT’s economy.

This bill reflects the government’s risk-based approach to licence terms. As part of these reforms, the Office of Regulatory Services reviewed all of the licence and registrations it issues. Where possible, the requirement for annual renewals for these licences and registrations is removed. This bill will instead give the Office of Regulatory Services the power to issue these licences and registrations for up to three years.

This bill does not compel the ORS to issue licences or registration for the maximum term. It will retain the discretion to issue licences or registrations for less than three years if a shorter period is appropriate in the circumstances.

While the government is committed to supporting the private sector, we have not simply extended the maximum period for all licences and registrations. As I have indicated, the government adopts a risk-based approach, and licence or registration periods have not been altered where there are public safety, health or other considerations to justify an annual assessment of the applicant’s suitability to hold a licence or registration. The bill only extends licence and registration periods in industries where the licence period could appropriately be extended without any adverse impact on public safety.

The bill will assist a wide range of licence and registration holders by removing their obligation to undertake unnecessary annual licence renewals. Among the many industry sectors that will benefit from this bill are motor vehicle repairers, real estate agents, travel agents, second-hand dealers, employment agents and car market operators.

The changes in this bill, and the many other reforms this government is pursuing as part of our “growth, diversification and jobs” business development strategy, will not only help employment opportunities for Canberrans, but they are also a win for consumers. By reducing the regulatory burden on business we can help reduce the cost pressures they face, which in turn benefits Canberrans who are consumers of their services and products.

It is more important than ever that this government do all it can to support the private sector, and consumers in the territory generally. This bill is just one way in which the government is working to do this by lightening the regulatory burden. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wall) adjourned to the next sitting.

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