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Australia To Reduce Business Reporting Burden

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

29 December 2006

The Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello, has announced a new initiative that he claims will provide a significant and sustained reduction in business to government reporting burden.

The Standard Business Reporting project builds upon the business measures announced by the Commonwealth in response to the Banks Report, to increase the scope for innovation, enhance entrepreneurial drive and increase productivity.

Reporting requirements from the various levels of government impose a significant burden on Australian business. The recent Report of the Taskforce on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business considered that getting rid of unnecessary regulatory compliance costs could save business billions of dollars per annum.

Standard Business Reporting is a whole of government programme to reduce reporting burdens for business through eliminating unnecessary or duplicated reporting and improving the interface between businesses and government agencies.

Costello said that the participation of state and local governments, and close consultation with the business community will be crucial to achieving the maximum benefits for Australian businesses.

Standard Business Reporting will pursue three broad opportunities for reducing business reporting burden: reducing the number of different agencies to which businesses have to report directly the same or similar information; reducing the number of data elements that businesses report to government through standardising and harmonising data definitions and eliminating duplication; and providing options for increased automation of business reporting, including greater pre-population of forms.

"The full benefits of Standard Business Reporting rely on all three opportunities being pursued concurrently," the Treasurer said.

"This will involve a single broad coordination and support authority which will manage business to government reporting holistically, over a sustained period," he added.

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