Report questions regulatory impact

THERE is considerable scope to improve the way that regulations are developed and scrutinised by all governments, according to a draft report released by the Productivity Commission.

COAG commissioned the Regulatory Impact Analysis: Benchmarking report to compare the regulatory impact analysis processes of the Commonwealth, States and Territories and COAG, and identifies leading practices.

"Australians need to be confident that all governments are committed to the rigorous assessment of regulation to ensure that unnecessary burdens on business and the community are avoided', Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald said.

Where regulatory impact analysis is undertaken, the Commission found that there is often a gap between the agreed best practice principles and what happens in practice.

The report found that Government proposals with the largest impacts on communities are often not rigorously scrutinised.

In all jurisdictions, greater commitment to transparency and accountability would improve the efficacy and rigour of policy development. In particular:

  • reducing opportunities to avoid assessment by tightening exemptions
  • publishing all regulation impact statements and compliance assessments by oversight agencies
  • requiring Ministers to provide reasons to Parliament for proceeding with proposals that have not been subjected to adequate impact analysis
  • ensuring that post implementation reviews of non-compliant and exempt proposals are independently conducted.

Commissioner Fitzgerald said: "Adoption of the leading practices would create stronger incentives for governments to demand and officials to deliver policies that are well considered and supported by rigorous analysis of different options and their impacts."

The Commission is seeking comment on the draft report in order to develop its final report to the Government by the end of November.

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