Supporting the government’s deregulation agenda

The Australian Government is committed to regulatory reform in order to reduce the burden of regulation, boost productivity, increase competitiveness, reduce unnecessary regulation and lift regulatory performance. The department is contributing to the deregulation agenda by cutting the cost of red tape to businesses, community organisations and individuals.

Soon after its creation, the department established a Deregulation Unit to coordinate regulatory reduction opportunities from across the employment portfolio. Since this time, the portfolio has identified around $130 million in deregulation savings. The measures contributing to these savings included:

  • amending the Fair Work Act 2009 to introduce realistic timeframes for greenfields agreement negotiations so that major projects are not delayed
  • reduce workers’ compensation  compliance costs for eligible businesses operating  across several states by broadening access to the national workers’ compensation regime by lifting the moratorium on private corporations seeking to become self-insurers under the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme
  • reducing and streamlining reporting requirements for Job Services Australia providers—see the ‘Reducing red tape for Job Services Australia providers’ case study for more information
  • introducing the Small Business Helpline  to give small businesses priority access to workplace relations  advice from  the Fair Work Ombudsman. Small business operators who rely on that advice will not be subject to prosecution if the information turns out to be incorrect
  • revoking the Fair Work Principles and the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines to reduce the compliance burden for companies tendering for Australian Government business.

To cut unnecessary and costly legislation and regulation, the government held its first parliamentary repeal day on 26 March 2014. In the government’s first report to parliament on red tape reduction, the Prime Minister identified more than 9500 regulations and 1000 acts of parliament that would be repealed. The employment portfolio was able to contribute 118 spent and redundant instruments for repeal on the day.

Reducing red tape for Job Services Australia providers

The department has introduced measures that reduce red tape for Job Services Australia providers. These measures include simplifying paperwork for employers who give job seekers an opportunity to work, using new technology to assist job seekers and streamlining claims processes.

Some of the changes were relatively simple. For example, providers have to lodge special claims if they miss the reporting deadline for outcome payments. When the department extended the deadline from 28 days to 56 days, there was a 45 per cent drop in the number of special claims lodged. This measure has provided efficiency benefits for both the department and Job Services Australia providers.

The department has also worked to reduce the duplication of administrative processes across Commonwealth agencies.

For example, Jobs Services Australia providers will no longer need to collect documentary evidence from employers to verify a job seeker’s employment. Instead, the department will use information collected by the Department of Human Services on individuals’ earnings and hours of employment. This alone will save more than $13 million in compliance costs for employers and Jobs Services Australia providers.

Looking ahead

The department will review the governance framework in 2014–15 to ensure it continues to meet our requirements through transparent reporting, accountability and decision making.

The implementation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 from 1 July 2014 will necessitate changes to some departmental structures to ensure compliance with all requirements of the Act by 1 July 2015.

The department will continue to support the government’s deregulation agenda.

The Shared Services Centre will be developing the department’s fraud control plan for 2015–2018.