The other side can trivialise a lot of this stuff. Yes, there is a lot of cleaning out the cupboards, if you like, but there is also a lot in the Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2015 that is going to save money.
The opposition would not understand that saving paperwork and bureaucracy is actually a net benefit to small business. Given their background, they have no understanding whatsoever of small business. Let us look at the size and scope of the achievement that we are working on here. So far, with just three repeal days, we have cut $2.45 billion worth of red tape. That is equivalent to every man, woman and child in this country putting $100 into the national piggy bank. Compare this to the other side in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd days, when federal regulation was bleeding us to the tune of about $65 billion, or more than four per cent of our GDP.
This government is not just about saving money, though; it is saving time. There is less time spent in filling out paperwork, less time in waiting in queues and less time in searching for information. As a result, we are building on things that really matter: more competition, more innovation and more productivity.Today I specifically focus on four industries where we are streamlining processes and cutting red tape: exports, small business, tourism and aged care.
Exports are critical to our country's future prosperity and for jobs. The government is pursuing free trade agreements and cutting red tape in our export industry. In Far North Queensland, sugar is a major export. I heard the previous speaker talking about sugar. The Cairns bulk sugar terminal celebrated a milestone earlier this year. In March, for the first time, 52,000 tonnes of high-polarity Brand 1 raw sugar was loaded onto a vessel and shipped to Japan. That is the weight of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I visited MSF Sugar in Gordonvale soon after with our trade and investment minister, Andrew Robb. CEO Mike Barry spoke about future potential. This new export was made possible because of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement that came into force on 15 January this year. The agreement was one of the many measures that the government took to boost Australian trade with Japan. Now we have also now signed a free trade agreement with Korea and we are certainly going to sign one with China, in spite of the nonsensical scare campaign that the other side has been running. We are looking forward to new opportunities now that we have liberalised Australia's trade with these three major trading partners.
Some great news for our export industry is the introduction of a mandatory port access code of conduct for grain export terminals. All bulk wheat exporters will now get fair and transparent access to port terminal services regardless of who owns the facility. We have also removed the need—this may sound a bit insignificant and they may laugh about it on the other side—for cattle to have tail tags if they are being exported to the European Union. Eliminating the tag system will save cattle producers over $1 million per year—back into the pockets of cattle producers. The other side would not understand. They would not know what a cattle tag was. They probably do not even know what a cow is. Nevertheless, that is something that we consume and export in large amounts. The requirement to have tags was a labour-intensive exercise for businesses, and we certainly have better ways now of animal management prior to trucking.
The 2015 budget is helping small businesses invest more, grow more and employ more through significant tax cuts and tax deductions for every asset valued up to $20,000. My small business community has certainly welcomed this legislation being passed through both houses recently. The red-tape cuts are also very welcome news. We have improved the pay-as-you-go instalment system by changing the entry and exit thresholds, meaning that certain small businesses will no longer have to interact with the PAYG instalment system. Businesses that choose to use this new method will only need to calculate their actual instalment income on a quarterly basis. Removing this unnecessary regulation will save Australia $2.7 million annually in compliance costs. Again, that is not a small cost for small businesses.
We are cutting red tape in the 457 visa program to streamline processing of sponsorship, nomination and applications. Owners like Mr Dev Rao, who runs Marinades Indian restaurant in Cairns, will see a more user-friendly 457 visa program. Dev has had an ongoing saga with 457s. The opposition may find this rather amusing, but nevertheless there is a cost to business. One of the 457 visa rules is that his chefs can only renew their visa if they pass an international English language test system. Dev's situation is unusual because it is not possible for him to find his chefs already trained in the kitchens of the Sheratons or the Hiltons. The cuisine at Dev's restaurant is very specific: it is the traditional, authentic taste of food stalls and family restaurants in the back streets of Calcutta. His chefs do not have the educational qualifications of mainstream chefs. They speak enough English to look after their own affairs but, because they are working in the kitchen, they do not have that level of interaction with people. That is why they struggle with the English language test. If a chef does not pass the test, Dev has two choices: either he sends them back to India or pays them an annual salary of $92,000, plus nine per cent superannuation. Dev pays this salary and super because if the chef left it would have a huge negative impact on his business. This has been going on for over eight years and Dev says, 'English language requirements are punishing for small multicultural businesses.' And I said to Dev: 'We have heard you. This government is reforming the 457 visa program.'
Dev says the English language requirements are punishing for multicultural employers. Today I say to Dev, 'We have heard you.' This government is reforming the 457 visa program by streamlining the processing of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications; reforming sponsorship requirements to reduce the time and cost to businesses; increasing the sponsorship approval period from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses; and providing greater flexibility in relation to English-language testing and skill requirements. These measures are good for business, good for employers and good for the country, saving $29.9 million per year in compliance fees.
Tourism is an industry that Leichhardt strongly relies on and there are huge benefits, looking ahead. Firstly, we can expect more tourists now that visitors from half-a-dozen new countries can apply for their subclass 600 Visitor visas electronically. Visitors from the Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina can now go to the Australian immigration website and apply online. Secondly, we know that Chinese visitors are a major contributor to the tourism sector. In the last financial year Australia welcomed more than 700,000 visitors. We want to make it even easier for them to visit. We are giving Chinese business visitors access to a single visa that will allow them to visit Australia multiple times over a three-year period.
China is among eight countries to trial the SmartGate passport processing system along with eligible citizens of Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Japan. This SmartGate passport system is already available to eligible travellers from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It substantially reduces queue waiting times as travellers enter Australia to work or holiday and greatly enhances the 'welcome' experience.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland has praised the federal government's initiatives to cut red-tape. CEO Alex de Waal said it will greatly enhance Australia's ability to attract tourists. He said it was wonderful to see the federal government proactively investing in tourism growth; however, he cautioned that still more needs to be done. Alex said that Australia's competitors are finding new ways to remove barriers and attract guests, so Australia needs to continue to innovate by aggressively tackling barriers to tourism growth in this country. I wholly support Alex's views, here, and I can promise him that this government will not be resting on its laurels.
Finally, we have removed provisions in the Aged Care Act 1997 that forced providers to notify the Department of Social Services within 28 days of any changes to key employees. We have removed some certification requirements from the Building Code of Australia that relate to aged care facilities. If the requirement is duplicated in state building regulations, there is no need for federal government oversight.
We have streamlined the forms for the Aged Care Approvals Round, reducing the size of application forms by half. One project this will assist in Leichhardt is the Mossman District Nursing Home. For 20 years, members of the Mossman District Nursing Home Inc. committee have been trying to build themselves a nursing home. They have been doing an outstanding job in their efforts. Over the years they have been successful, first of all, in having the local hospital converted into a multipurpose facility, which allowed them to get access to eight nursing home beds. They then went ahead and were able to successfully organise a plot of land, thanks to council support, and they have been seeking additional bed places through our annual Aged Care Approvals Round. Since 2011, the committee has been completing very comprehensive annual applications for these bed places. The applications are a massive endeavour and very time consuming, costing upwards of $30,000 in consultants' fees on each occasion. I am pleased to say that the committee formed a partnership with the Salvation Army Aged Care Plus, and this organisation has been able to drive the more recent ACAR applications. Nevertheless, as the president of the committee, Marj Norris, told me:
Anything the Government can do to reduce the burden of these applications for community, non-profit organisations is very welcome news.
After these 20 years of effort, in the last round Marj and her team, with the support of the Salvation Army Aged Care Plus, successfully attained another 42 places in the 2014 ACAR. Only a matter of weeks ago, the Douglas Shire Council agreed to transfer freehold the land that they had reserved for this facility to the Salvation Army. So we are now looking to the next round to get about $6 million, with the Salvation Army putting in a similar amount, so that they can build a facility. After 20 years of effort, there is a real possibility of Mossman attaining there aged-care facility. I will certainly be supporting them in their efforts and I can tell you that there is not a more worthy community. For the years that they have been working on that project, I think they deserve all the credit they get and the success that they are able to achieve.
We know how frustrating it is to have to update personal information at a multitude of agencies—sitting on hold on the phone or queuing up to be served. The new myGov website takes advantage of the technology we have available today and links together Medicare, the tax office, Centrelink, Australian JobSearch, our eHealth records, Child Support, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The extra features mean that every Australian can update their important details in one place. Cameron Murphy, a resident of Kewarra Beach, told my electorate officers how time consuming it is to have to go into a Medicare office to change his personal information. At a national level, this move reduces $5.4 million in annual compliance costs across the country.
In conclusion, today's $305 million cut in red tape builds on the $2.1 billion reduction as a result of decisions we have made since October last year. The previous government created around 21,000 new regulations, further clogging up the pores of our system. With the passing of this legislation, the coalition will have repealed more than 10,300 legislative instruments and 2,700 acts of parliament, relieving $2.45 billion of unnecessary expenditure for Aussie families, organisations and businesses. That red tape has been building up like a boil since Australia's government began in 1901. Now we are lancing that boil, getting rid of the pain and the pressure, and working to build a robust economy that will support growth and prosperity into the future. I certainly commend the bill to the House.