Page 270 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

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DR BOURKE: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Chief Minister, why is it important that regulations and approvals always be improved, and what is the government doing to help?

MR BARR: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. Undoubtedly, regulatory reform and reducing red tape is a whole-of-government priority, and it is an investment which creates a diverse and successful environment for local business and the community to thrive. Government regulation is important and it can deliver better outcomes for the community. As much as regulation can protect consumers, the environment and set industry standards, it can correct market failures.

However, no regulation is costless to government, to business or to the community. Good government means balancing a range of factors to deliver the most positive outcome. Often the most effective thing governments can do to achieve good social outcomes is to educate industry, community groups and citizens.

The effectiveness of a regulatory regime boils down to the practical ways, of course, that our regulators go about their business. Over time the risks and problems that government regulations address may change due to changes in technology, in industry structure or in innovation. For example, the government’s recent announcement of an innovation review for the taxi industry is a prime example of the recognition of the impacts of technological change and moving to ensure that appropriate regulatory settings are in place.

This government listens to stakeholders. We continuously evaluate our regulations against the risks they are designed to address, to continuously reform our regulations and improve the performance of our regulators. Another example here is the government’s regulatory reform panel, which brings together government and key stakeholders to work on a range of reform options. So this is a priority across government. I am determined that businesses, community groups and Canberra citizens have the smoothest possible regulatory experience. The establishment of Access Canberra is a clear demonstration of this commitment and a significant step towards a one-government regulatory experience.

The government delivered a range of regulatory and red tape reductions in 2014 through the economic stimulus package for the building and construction industry, through capital works procurement reforms and, of course, through the Red Tape Reduction Legislation Amendment Act 2014 that focused on a streamlined application process for outdoor dining on public unleased land, extended licence periods in a range of industries, removed unnecessary regulatory requirements for licensees relating to signage and removed a statutory declaration process when lodging deeds for powers of attorney registration.

The government will continue to pursue regulatory reforms over the 2015 calendar year and beyond.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

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