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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1475 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

for quasi-regulation, they should take adequate responsibility for publicising and providing access to information to help small businesses meet their compliance obligations. Regulation reform agencies in each jurisdiction should also provide advice to regulators on the potential advantages and disadvantages of quasi-regulation and the circumstances in which it may be an appropriate regulatory option.

The summit also recognised that monitoring regulatory performance is an important element of reform of business regulation and agreed to a framework for jurisdictions to report annually against six key objectives. These objectives aim to ensure, among other things, that regulatory decision-making processes are transparent and lead to fair outcomes, and that detailed information on regulation and how to comply is accessible to and understood by business.

Mr Speaker, the summit welcomed the delivery of phase 1 of the Commonwealth Government's business entry point that commenced operation on 1 July 1998. This initiative provides an improved access to government business information products through the development of the national Business Information Service and represents the first phase of the substantial enhancement of the current Business Licence Information Service and BizLink products. The business entry point also offers a single process for the initial business registration requirements of small business of the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Security and Investment Commission.

All jurisdictions have made a commitment to work closely with the Commonwealth in the development of phase 2 of the business entry point. One aspect of this is the work that is being done in all jurisdictions in streamlining and simplifying current licensing and approval processes to reduce the time, paperwork and compliance burden on small business. In the ACT, work will soon commence on an analysis of the tourism and hospitality industry to review and reduce some of the regulatory burdens placed on businesses in this area. We are also participating in the establishment of a regulation complaints signpost hotline service. This service, which is expected to commence operation on 1 September 1998, will direct businesses with a regulatory-type complaint to the appropriate contact within government. The service will be delivered in the ACT through the Business Licence Information Service.

An important issue raised at the summit was the year 2000 date problem, known as the Y2K or millennium bug. This issue is of particular concern for small business operators, many of whom perceive that this problem only affects big business. The Commonwealth strategy that is currently being implemented targets small businesses to raise their awareness and to take action. The ACT Government, in conjunction with the Y2K industry program and the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently hosted an awareness seminar for small business. Advice can also be obtained from the Y2K hotline, which is delivered in the ACT through the ACT Business Licence Information Service.

Mr Speaker, many of the issues discussed at the summit are being addressed through the Government's regulatory reform program and are enhanced by programs announced in the 1998-99 ACT budget. Over the past two years the implementation of the recommendations of the Red Tape Task Force has ensured that the process of removing red tape and excessive regulation is now built into the mainstream business of

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