16/03/2015 - 17:10

Porter targets $2.1bn savings

16/03/2015 - 17:10


Save articles for future reference.

Rising political player Christian Porter wants to hear from business on ways to reduce compliance costs.

CUT, CUT: Christian Porter believes progress is being made on red tape reduction. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Rising political player Christian Porter wants to hear from business on ways to reduce compliance costs.

Promises to reduce red tape are made in nearly every election campaign, numerous commissions of inquiry have examined the issue, and it has even had its own special day allotted by various governments as a sign of progress.

Yet few in business believe the tide can be turned, as each year parliaments and bureaucracy find new ways to add to the cost burden of complying with regulations.

Newly installed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Christian Porter has other ideas, however, believing the federal government can not only swim against this tide but has actually developed a vehicle to substantially ease the passage of those navigating the compliance waters.

Speaking to Business News ahead of the Abbott government’s own Red Tape Repeal Day on March 18, the former Western Australian treasurer said he had inherited work started by his predecessor, Josh Frydenberg, leading to decisions which, when in full effect, will reduce the compliance cost across Australia by $2.1 billion.

Mr Porter said those were ongoing annual savings due to fewer compliance activities and requirements, as well as reduced related regulation-induced delays.

For instance, he said the move to a one-stop environmental approvals process for land development, where the state governments handled the federal component at the same time as their own, would reduce delays to industry, put at $417 million per year.

Another example was the MyTax initiative, where simple individual tax returns were partially pre-filled by the Australian Taxation Office using past income tax returns and automatically generated information from employers.

In addition to the headline $2.1 billion saving figure – which would be ongoing in many cases – Mr Porter said the government was committed to finding an additional $1 billion a year of new cost savings for business and consumers.

The annual target would be net of costs introduced with new legislation, the calculation of which was determined by the Office of Best Practice Regulation, which operated under the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Previous cost savings would not be counted in the annual target but would have a cumulative effect, as many were ongoing.

Mr Porter said he was keen to hear from business about ways in which the cost of regulatory compliance could be reduced, either directly or through their time.

He also believed the federal government’s process – with teams going into each department to find savings, and department heads incentivised to find savings by aligning results to their remuneration – could be franchised out to other levels of government.

“The next phase is to try to secure more cooperation from COAG (Council of Australian Governments) to eat away regulatory stock at state and local government level,” Mr Porter said.

“Part of this is to share management expertise from the red tape reduction program.”

In line with the MyTax initiative, Mr Porter said the Business Activity Statement associated with GST remittances was also being reviewed with an eye to simplification.

“That is the next thing that we are really hoping to get our teeth into,” he said.


Subscription Options