Page 4452 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (4.15): I welcome the opportunity to share with the Assembly the work that the government has been doing to reduce red tape. We all accept the fact that regulations are an essential element of the management of any healthy economy. Whilst there is a considerable amount of regulation that is necessary and beneficial in our modern society—for example, protecting work safety or the environment—some regulations may not always be as efficient or effective as they could be.

We know that dealing with government regulations can impose direct costs on businesses, especially small businesses, and can distract owners from their day-to-day business operations. Particularly time-consuming, poorly-designed, ineffective or excessive regulation impacts on the efficiency of small businesses and ultimately results in extra costs to consumers. Our commitment to creating a diverse private sector and an environment in which local businesses can thrive has clearly been outlined in the government’s business development strategy. The continued implementation of this strategy is a government priority in the current year.

An initiative that flowed from the strategy was the establishment in June 2012 of the red tape reduction panel. This group has a specific mandate to identify and consider regulations that impose unnecessary burdens, costs or disadvantages on business activity in the territory. In addition to myself as chair, the panel comprises the Director-General of the Economic Development Directorate, who is the deputy chair, the Chief Executive Officer of the Canberra Business Council, the Chief Executive of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Executive Director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, the Chief Executive of Clubs ACT and the Executive Director of the Office of Regulatory Services.

From 2014, the General Manager of the Australian Hotels Association will be joining the panel as it focuses on reforms in the hospitality sector. The panel is outcome oriented, focusing on problems facing businesses, and has a mandate to engage across government and fix matters that do not work. Panel members are bringing valuable knowledge and expertise in identifying opportunities for red tape reduction, as well as undertaking consultation with specific sectors of industry on issues that are affecting them. In the first 12 to 18 months, the panel is focusing on municipal regulatory processes which impose unnecessary burdens, costs or disadvantages on business activities in the ACT.

I have previously announced the government’s intention to bring forward red tape reduction bills during the 2013-14 fiscal year, and work is continuing on a pipeline of red tape reduction amendments to be progressed through bills in this place. I note, however, that not all red tape reduction initiatives require legislative amendment, with some initiatives simply requiring streamlining of business processes or developing, through new technology, user-friendly processes.

The panel’s work provides an avenue for directorates to address red tape in their own operations, and the Economic Development Directorate is working across government

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