On Wednesday the Coalition government will hold its first red tape repeal day for the year, which could see the controversial Personal Property and Securities Act simplified, along with 8000 other pieces of regulation.
The Coalition has been on a red tape warpath since being elected in September last year and intends to cut $1 billion worth of regulations deemed excessive.
Small Business Minister Bruce Billson told SmartCompany the Coalition is looking at reducing the “regulatory burden and the costs which fall on industry, particularly small business, as a result of the PPSR”.
“We’re changing a couple of things, firstly we’ll be increasing the length of time an item needs to be leased for a business to be required to register it,” he says.
“Currently, hire agreements of 90 days or more must be registered, but that’s being increased to a year.”
Billson says the classification of a motor vehicle under the act will also be altered.
“Currently, a motor vehicle which has a mandatory requirement for legislation is anything which can go 10km an hour or has one or more motors with a total power greater than 200 watts,” he says.
Billson says this has resulted in packaging machines, scissor lifts, excavating vehicles and even stationary cement mixes having to be registered as motor vehicles.
“We’ll be changing the act to say a motor vehicle must have a travel speed of at least 10km an hour and one or more motors,” he says.
The Personal Properties and Securities Registry was first introduced by former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2009, but only officially came into practice in 2012 and the transition period to the registry didn’t end until late January this year.
The registry came about as a way for businesses to claim their assets if a company using them went into administration; however, for rental businesses this has resulted in extra compliance burdens.
A failure to add an item to the registry can result in these assets becoming available to all unsecured creditors in the event of a business going into administration.
Earlier this year, Dissolve liquidator Cliff Sanderson told SmartCompany there is no legal excuse for not having a business’s assets registered, but there has been a lack of education around it.
“It’s fundamentally not a bad piece of legislation,” he says.
“But it has been implemented with almost no education or information provided out of statutory bodies to the business community. And if you don’t know about it, you can only be a victim.”
Other regulations on the chopping block include requirements for films to have separate classifications for 3D and 2D versions, according to The Australian, and legislation impacting childcare centres and licenced restaurants and cafes.
Billson says around 8000 pieces of legislation will be simplified or repealed.
“A lot of that goes to redundant legislation, legislative instruments which don’t sit well with reality and a particular favourite of mine which is the changes to paid parental leave payments,” he says.
“We’re having another go and I’ll be introducing legislation to repeal the pay clerk burden on businesses under the existing laws, so it only happens when the employer and the employee opt in, resulting in a $48 million saving for private sector and not-for-profit companies.”
Billson says he’s currently working through the repeals to determine which are most relevant to small business, and invites small business to contact him about “ridiculous regulations”.
“If you have examples of completely nonsensical and over-reaching compliance burdens, send the examples to me or go to the www.cuttingredtape.gov.au and there is a process through which people can nominate examples of excessive, ridiculous regulations.”
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