The Coalition Government is an efficient government, and our actions since the 2013 election are speaking volumes louder than Labor’s legacy of empty media sound-grabs. We don’t just talk about more jobs, a more competitive and productive business sector, and lower household costs…the Coalition actually makes it happen.
Today is another landmark occasion in the governing of our country following our Autumn Repeal Day earlier this year. We are cutting the government’s red tape on more than 250 regulations.
It brings the total number of outdated and unnecessary regulations removed, thanks to this government, to almost 9,800.
Today we are moving Australia forward into a modern, forward-thinking world with a secure and prosperous economy.
One of my constituents, Jack Wilkie-Jans, from the Cape York Sustainable Futures in May summarised the Leichhardt electorate’s view brilliantly. He said, in a letter to the Cairns Post, that Government red tape “has asphyxiated rural Australians and our industries. Far North Queensland could be more than the reef and mining. We are the arts and cultural capital for regional Australia. We could also be fishing, both commercial and hobby, with farming and vibrant eco-tourism Cape-wide.”
I’d have to agree. It’s precisely why I’m excited to stand here today and see these red tapes slashed.
Because of today, everyday Australians and local businesses of every size will find their interactions with government becomes easier; they’ll find their reporting obligations become more reasonable; and they’ll see logic and common sense prevailing.
1. Abolishing three bodies
As a government we need to be more rational regarding the legislative bodies we establish. It doesn’t make sense to establish councils and groups in lieu of simply working with our industries to solve problems. This bill will abolish three government bodies – the Fishing Industry Policy Council; the Product Stewardship Advisory Group; and the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council.
The first two were established under Labor, and were completely unnecessary. Creating a statutory body to do something as simple as industry consultation is like killing a fly with a military airstrike.
The third body to be abolished, the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council, has simply reached the end of its life, and Government will now simply engage with industry experts only when required to administer the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000.
2. Reducing regulatory obligations and reporting – Aged care providers
One of today’s reforms is to the Aged Care Act 1997. Previously our Aged Care providers had to notify the Government, within 28 days, about all key personnel changes. It resulted in 10,000 notifications to the Department of Social Services each year. Our reform will mean Aged Care providers only need to notify government if a personnel change materially affects their suitability to provide care. It’s a welcome change, and removes the previous absurdity of government essentially micromanaging Aged Care businesses.
3. Reducing regulatory obligations and reporting – Builders accreditation
Today we are also removing the need for smaller builders to be accredited with the Federal Safety Commissioner if they are to be involved in Australian Government projects. The accreditation cost $75,000.
From now, unaccredited builders will be able to work on Commonwealth-funded building work – as long as they’re in a joint venture with an accredited company and operate under the partner’s Scheme accredited systems. Unlike Labor, we want to REDUCE barriers and make it easier for small builders, to get descent contracts. It makes sense that local contractors should be partners in major building contracts, where possible, instead of just being ‘fed the crumbs’ as subbies.
4. Simplifying interactions with government – PAYG
It’s a well-known fact that 50 per cent of small businesses fail within the first year. There is nowhere that this is more evident than in my electorate, which has one of the highest rates of small business closures in the country. At one point, 400 small businesses with up to four employees closed their doors in a two-year period! Anything we can do to reduce this failure rate is a bonus.
I congratulate Treasury who are today reducing the number of taxpayers required to pay PAYG instalments, and removing the need for businesses who don’t pay GST to have to lodge a business activity statement each month. These two simple changes will lead to a huge sigh of relief from our small businesses, and an estimated annual saving of $67.3 million in compliance costs.
5. Simplifying interactions with government – myGov
While it’s impractical to have every government agency in every single town and city, I am pleased to say the new myGov Inbox digital mail service is a God send for people in Leichhardt.
We deal with the tyranny of distance every day, but myGov now gives us easy online access to:
o Australian Taxation Office;
o personally controlled eHealth records;
o child support;
o Department of Veterans’ Affairs; and
o the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
It is a huge success that we are making Government more open, accountable, and accessible for every Australian – whether we live in a major city or a remote area.
6. Common sense reforms – Do Not Call Register
I also welcome the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation) Bill 2014. The Bill let Australians register their phone number on the Do Not Call Register to opt out of receiving telemarketing certain calls. It was previously valid for only 8 years, but the Coalition is making it indefinite to save more than 9.2 million individuals and families from ongoing re-registration.
Regrettably the Register doesn’t prevent illegal scam phone calls which, in 2013, stole $29 million from Aussie families. This is an area that I would urge the Government to investigate further to see if there is ANYTHING we could do to prevent these illegal and predatory calls.
7. Common sense reforms – Motorcycle mudguard modifications
There are 70,000 new motorcycles sold in Australia every year, but every single one needs to be retro-fitted with an Australian-specific mudguard extension. Our reforms will save more than $14 million in manufacturing and industry compliance costs, and bring us in line with the UK, France and Germany.
It is logical that we accept into Australia products that are already approved overseas under trusted international standards or risk assessments. In a 21st century world, there’s no point in creating regulatory overlap across certain international borders when these countries are actually recognised for their high standards of safety.
The Commonwealth of Australia has been around since 1901 and so many things have changed in that time: our culture, our technology, and our values.
Laws and regulations are born out of necessity but they are meant to evolve and, in some cases, be discarded. They come and go depending on the needs of our country.
It’s spring, and spring cleaning needs to happen at every level – at home, in the workplace, and at a national level. So I want to say thank you to my fellow members, on behalf of my constituents – the people of Leichhardt in Far North Queensland – for taking action to clean-up Australia’s outdated and now unnecessary regulations.
Today will help to take away some of the regulatory shackles that were holding our country back and suffocating our businesses. It will help us continue to grow into a strong, prosperous economy and a global player in the 21st century. Thank you.