CONTINUEThis site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.
  1. Front Page
  2. News By Topic
  3. Australia Reducing Regulatory Burden On Business

Australia Reducing Regulatory Burden On Business

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

17 April 2007

The Australian government has made significant progress over the past nine months in reducing regulatory burdens imposed on business in response to the Taskforce on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business (the Banks Taskforce), according to Treasurer Peter Costello.

The Banks Taskforce, chaired by Gary Banks (Chairman of the Productivity Commission), was established on 12 October 2005, to identify practical options for alleviating the compliance burden on business from Commonwealth Government regulation. The Banks Taskforce presented its final report to Government on 31 January 2006.

The Government accepted, in full or in part, 158 of the Banks Taskforce’s 178 recommendations across a broad range of regulation, including: health-related regulation; labour market regulation; consumer-related regulation; environmental and building regulation; financial and corporate regulation; tax regulation; superannuation regulation; and trade-related regulation.

The recommendations have led to broad-ranging superannuation reforms announced in the 2006-07 Budget which have now been enacted. These are the most wide-ranging reforms of the superannuation laws in decades.

Also as a result of the review, the Government is developing legislation to align the eligibility criteria for small business tax concessions for GST, the simplified tax system, capital gains tax, fringe benefits tax and pay-as-you-go. The Board of Taxation also will soon report on the results of its scoping study on small business tax compliance costs. Further, the Board of Taxation has commenced a study into the scope for applying consistent self-assessment principles across all federally administered taxes.

According to Costello, Parliamentary Secretary, Chris Pearce has made significant progress in reducing the burdens associated with corporate and financial services regulation. Pearce has undertaken extensive consultation through the Corporate and Financial Services Regulation Review Consultation Paper, and implementation of the proposals in that paper has begun — draft regulations to reduce duplication and simplify Product Disclosure Statements, Financial Services Guides and Statements of Advice were exposed for comment during March and April 2007, and drafts of the Simpler Regulatory System Bill and the Simplifying Regulation and Review Bill will be released soon.

Pearce is also consulting on reforms to the insider trading provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 through the Insider Trading Position and Consultation Paper, and will bring forward separate reforms to auditor independence following completion of consultations on Australian Auditor Independence — A Comparative Review.

The Banks Taskforce also made recommendations to strengthen the Government’s regulation-making and review framework. Regulation-making processes have been enhanced within Government to ensure that the compliance and competition impacts of regulatory measures are considered by government at an early stage in their development, and to ensure that the cumulative effects of regulations are monitored effectively over time.

A business consultation website,, has been established as a one stop shop for businesses, associations and other interested parties to register an interest in being consulted about changes to proposed or existing regulations. The Government has also updated the ‘new to business’ checklist on the portal to ensure easier compliance with regulations by new businesses.

"The Government’s commitment to tackle red tape is ongoing. Accordingly, I have commissioned the Productivity Commission to commence an annual review process to identify regulation that is unnecessarily burdensome, complex or redundant, or duplicates regulation in other jurisdictions," stated Costello.

"This rolling programme of reviews will examine all sectors of the economy over a 5-year cycle, commencing with the primary sector this year. The Commission’s first review will be completed by the end of October 2007 and will form the basis of a rolling red tape reduction agenda, which will be considered by the Government each year," he added.

The Government is also working actively through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to ensure that regulatory burdens, especially where jurisdictional overlaps add to compliance burdens, are addressed at all levels of government.

"To assist in monitoring regulatory performance at all levels of government, I announced on 11 August 2006 that the Productivity Commission would undertake a study to examine the feasibility of developing a common framework for benchmarking, measuring and reporting on regulatory burdens across jurisdictions. The first stage of the Commission’s study, released on 6 March 2007, found that benchmarking of Australian business regulation in areas of regulation that have similar objectives is feasible and could produce significant benefits," Costello explained.

To see today's news, click here.


Tax-News Reviews

Cyprus Review

A review and forecast of Cyprus's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Cyprus Review »

Malta Review

A review and forecast of Malta's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Malta Review »

Jersey Review

A review and forecast of Jersey's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Jersey Review »

Budget Review

A review of the latest budget news and government financial statements from around the world.

Visit Budget Review »

Stay Updated

Please enter your email address to join the mailing list. View previous newsletters.

By subscribing to our newsletter service, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

To manage your mailing list preferences, please click here »