Work is underway on a stocktake of the progress in cutting red tape made by the Howard government, Small Business Minister Craig Emerson says.
Emerson says the stocktake is required because early indications are that progress on cutting red tape stalled in the last year of the former government, with several scheduled meetings not taking place and red-tape cuts less advanced than he understood.
“We need to know what has been done and what was empty rhetoric,” Emerson says. “For example, it said at the time it had agreed to the vast majority of the Banks report recommendations [a key Productivity Commission report into regulation], but one third of the government’s response was just an agreement to further review.”
Late last year Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said Labor would not conduct a further
review into red tape, but Emerson says the stocktake is a necessary step in planning Labor’s red-tape reduction plan.
“This is a stocktake, not a review. In fact in many cases our criticism of the former government was that in many cases when it said it was acting, it was a review,” Emerson says. “As a pre-condition to moving forward with real and genuine speed we need to know what has been done and what was just a whole lot of empty rhetoric.”
Labor made several high promises to cut business red tape during the election campaign last year, including the implementation of a “one-in-one out” rule for all new regulation and the creation of a cabinet minister for red tape, a role taken by Tanner.