Deregulation

The Australian Government is committed to reform that reduces the burden of regulation, removes unnecessary regulation, lifts regulatory performance, boosts productivity and increases competitiveness.

Since 3 October 2013 the portfolio has reported more than $150 million in announced deregulatory savings.

Employment portfolio agencies and the department have made great progress in cutting red tape to businesses, community organisations and individuals. As reported in the department’s Annual Deregulation Report September 2013 – December 2014, published in March 2015, the portfolio has reported more than $150 million in deregulatory savings since 3 October 2013. Measures identified in 2014–15 included:

  • modernising and streamlining the Australian Government Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme to reduce barriers to entry for small businesses to undertake Commonwealth-funded work, without reducing safety standards
  • releasing the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2013 to ensure Commonwealth-funded building projects are delivered on time and on budget
  • streamlining gender reporting under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 to reduce the burden on employers
  • simplifying administrative requirements under the Seasonal Worker Programme to reduce the reporting burden on participating employers.

The report is available at www.employment.gov.au/annual-deregulation-report.

During 2014–15 the department’s deregulation unit developed strategies to help the portfolio find effective alternatives to regulation and move away from regulation as a default policy. This is part of a broader initiative to build a culture of best practice across the portfolio. These strategies fall into the following categories:

  • Target levers for change—determine red tape reduction target and repeal days, forward work programme, regulation audit, regulatory policy processes and new policy proposals.
  • Develop capabilities—build a suite of tools, support policy and programme areas, run targeted workshops and articulate the deregulation performance indicators.
  • Drive change—support leaders, engage staff and deliver a communications plan.
  • Foster relationships—facilitate work across the portfolio, with the Secretary and SES employees, cluster deregulation contacts and an internal deregulation reference group.

The unit has built relationships with deregulation contacts across the department and within each of the portfolio agencies, enabling an ongoing conversation about the outcomes and expectations of the deregulation agenda. The unit collaborates with areas across the portfolio by:

  • supporting policy and programme areas to understand the regulatory burden management framework and cost regulations, prepare regulation impact statements and develop new policy proposals
  • developing useful information and tools for deregulation and policy development, such as quick guides, assessment templates, checklists and regulatory costing guides
  • developing best practice case studies
  • supporting leaders with regular information and updates.

The unit has also developed deregulation performance indicators for inclusion in the performance agreements of SES employees. This will ensure that all senior executives have a clear responsibility to personally support the deregulation agenda in ways relevant to their work.

Throughout 2015 the department will maintain the commitment to the deregulation agenda. We will continue to develop our forward work programme to ensure deregulation targets are achieved and real efficiencies for Australian businesses and the community are realised. Reform opportunities in the government’s priority areas of small business and inter-agency and cross-jurisdictional reforms will be a particular area of focus.

The department will work with portfolio agencies to implement the regulator performance framework and assist regulators to develop and identify metrics to measure performance. We will also develop an approach to the external validation of regulators’ self-assessments. These will be assessed over 2015–16 with findings published in the second half of 2016.

In support of the government’s principle to remove Australian regulation where trusted international standards exist, the department will lead the portfolio’s investigation of opportunities for applying international standards and risk assessments. This will be subject to rigorous assessment criteria with the goal of removing unnecessary compliance requirements, costs and delays for business. More broadly, the department and wider portfolio will continue to promote best practice in regulation, minimise regulation and use risk-based approaches in the targeting of compliance activities.