Regulation is essential for the proper functioning of society and the economy. Regulation includes any laws or other government-endorsed ‘rules’ where there is an expectation of compliance. In Australia, regulation is made at the federal level as well as by the states and territories, in the form of legislation and subordinate legislation and at a local government level as regulations and by-laws.
The Australian Government and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) are committed to improving the quality of regulation, including minimising the burden of regulation on businesses, community organisations and individuals.
Australia is recognised internationally for its regulation impact assessment arrangements.
- The 2014 Australian Government Guide to Regulation provides high-level principles for policy-makers and outlines the requirements and process for developing a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS).
- The Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Best Practice Regulation: A Guide for Ministerial Councils and National Standard Setting Bodies outlines the principles for best practice regulation agreed by COAG, and provides guidance to ministerial councils and national standard-setting bodies on undertaking regulatory impact analysis and preparing a COAG Regulation Impact Statement (COAG RIS).
A common misconception is that a RIS is only required for legislation. A RIS is required for all measures that seek to impose mandatory obligations on business and the community, including codes and advisory instruments for which there is a reasonable expectation of widespread compliance. The level of analysis required in a RIS depends on the significance of the proposed change.
The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) administers the Australian Government and COAG RIS requirements. It comments on the quality of analysis in RISs and conducts training and provides guidance to assist agencies in preparing RISs. The OBPR also reports on compliance with the Australian Government’s and COAG RIS requirements.