Regulations are essential for the proper functioning of society and the economy. They include 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.
Australia is recognised internationally for its regulatory policy and governance arrangements, particularly its approach to Regulatory Impact Analysis. The Australian Government remains committed to improving the quality of its regulation, including minimising the burden of regulation on businesses, community organisations and individuals. Commonwealth Government portfolios promote regulatory quality through the preparation of Regulation Impact Statements under the Government’s Regulatory Impact Analysis system. They also review the Government’s regulatory regimes to ensure they remain fit for purpose in the 21st Century.
The Government’s regulatory policy frameworks assist in keeping the Australian economy as efficient, flexible and responsive as possible. Key frameworks include:
- Regulatory Impact Analysis requirements: Every policy proposal designed to introduce or abolish regulation must now be accompanied by a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS). The 2014 Australian Government Guide to Regulation provides high-level principles for policy-makers and outlines the requirements and process for developing a RIS.
- The Commonwealth Regulatory Burden Measure (RBM) is used by policy-makers to assist in calculating the compliance costs of regulatory proposals on businesses, individuals and community organisations.
- The Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) guides Commonwealth regulators in minimising their impact on those they regulate while still delivering the vital role they have been asked to perform.
Underpinning these frameworks is a commitment to best practice regulation to improve regulatory quality. This includes an ongoing focus on managing the Commonwealth stock of regulations to ensure they remain fit for purpose.
We also engage internationally to promote Australian regulatory policy priorities and achievements while contributing to international regulatory capability development, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) in the Regulatory Reform Division administers the Regulatory Impact Analysis requirements of the Australian Government and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The OBPR also conducts training and provides guidance to assist agencies in preparing regulation impact statements and fulfils other regulatory review and reform obligations.
The Australian Government reports regularly on implementation of regulatory reforms and administration of regulatory impact analysis. These reports are publicly available.
Between September 2013 and December 2016, decisions were taken that could reduce the burden of Australian Government regulation by around $5.8 billion when implemented.