05/12/2006 - 22:00

State's red tape bill tops $2bn – CCI

05/12/2006 - 22:00

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The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has estimated that government regulation costs the state’s business sector a total of $2.1 billion, or $26,582 per business.

State's red tape bill tops $2bn – CCI

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has estimated that government regulation costs the state’s business sector a total of $2.1 billion, or $26,582 per business.

A survey of WA businesses found the overall number of regulations was the biggest concern.

Among other concerns were the cost of compliance, the severity of penalties for non-compliance, and the complexity of regulation.

The survey, which attracted 320 responses, found the most complex and costly regulations related to industrial relations, federal and state taxation, occupational health and safety and workers’ compensation.

The results of the survey were included in a regulation discussion paper released this week by CCI chief executive John Langoulant.

The discussion paper proposed that government intervention should be minimised, nationally consistent, and should strike a balance between efficiency and effectiveness.

It noted that federal and state governments have taken steps to remove unnecessary regulation and make existing regulation more transparent and efficient.

At a state level, it cited reform in the areas of major project approvals, workplace safety, environmental approvals and land-use planning.

In contrast, the survey said the departments of local government, water and health “do not appear to have undertaken this work”.

The CCI survey asked businesses how much time they spent complying with existing regulations, researching new or amended laws and/or changing internal systems to cope with new or changed laws.

Small businesses spent up to 18.5 hours every week, or $24,500 per year dealing with regulation. Medium-sized businesses spent up to 26.4 hours every week, while large firms spent an average of 70.3 hours.

The total cost of $2.1 billion equated to 3.5 per cent of WA business income.

Measures currently under way to improve regulation include a benchmarking review by the federal government’s Productivity Commission.

It recommended that benchmarking initially should target regulatory ‘hot spots’, including rail safety, occupational health and safety, national trade measurement, chemicals and plastics, development approvals and building regulation.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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