21/03/2019 - 15:39

Leadership needed to push licence reform

21/03/2019 - 15:39

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Appointing a senior minister to manage reform of business licensing and sunset clauses would assist the state government control the proliferation of permits that tie-up enterprises, according to a review released today.

Leadership needed to push licence reform
Moving or keeping bees requires government authorisation in WA.

Appointing a senior minister to manage reform of business licensing and sunset clauses would assist the state government control the proliferation of permits that tie-up enterprises, according to a review released today.

There are about 700 different business licensing schemes in Western Australia, the Economic Regulation Authority found, but no clear system in place to ensure the benefits exceed the costs.

Examples included specifically licences to take emu eggs, authorisations to establish a school of anatomy, to breed greyhounds, move bees or sell green firewood.

Of the 700, 124 could not be found on agency websites. 

“Forty per cent of licensing schemes reviewed since 2013 have not had any of the recommendations of the review implemented, and 20 per cent have had only some recommendations implemented,” the ERA said.

“Nearly 70 per cent of business licensing schemes have not had enforcement and compliance reviewed since 2013, and about 60 per cent have not had administration reviewed.”

The top recommendation by the ERA was that responsibility for cross-government business licensing policy, monitoring and performance improvement, should be assigned to a senior minister.

ERA chair Nicky Cusworth said the recommendations were intended to work with, not add to, existing processes.

“Business licensing affects most Western Australian businesses and workers, yet our licensing schemes are not managed consistently to ensure they remain necessary, effective and cost-efficient,” Ms Cusworth said.

“Government should be managing licensing schemes like they would any other public asset – like a road or a hospital.”

She there was no consistent approach to managing and improving the schemes.

“Licensing exists to protect the community, economy and environment from harm, and too often problems are not identified until something goes seriously wrong,” Ms Cusworth said.

“For example, electrical licensing and occupation health and safety regulations were amended in 2017 after four people died while carrying out electrical work.”

A central government website to consult on reviews and decisions would improve consumer input, she said.

“To make it easier for businesses and the public to have their say, the ERA recommends that the state government should consider establishing a central consultation website, like YourSAy in South Australia,” Ms Cusworth said.

A further recommendation was to consider automatic repeal clauses in new legislation to help phase out schemes that solve a time-limited problem or might become outdated because of technological change.

That should also apply when the outcome of a scheme was uncertain at the time of introduction, the report said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options