NSW signals cuts to red tape

The NSW government is to release new business regulation guidelines today as it seeks to ease the burden of red tape.

Under the guidelines, government departments will have to present ‘better regulation statements’ detailing why new regulations are necessary and responsive. All existing regulation will also come under focus as the State government seeks to simplify a host of laws.

Joe Tripodi, NSW Regulatory Reform Minister, told The Australian Financial Review that all existing laws are subject to 5 year sunset clauses and will come under review upon current expiry on June 1 this year.

Business will pay close attention to reform of the stringent workplace safety laws in force in NSW. Under existing rules employers bears an absolute ‘duty of care’ in the workplace, and face stiff penalties for any breaches.

An overhaul of NSW workplace safety laws, deemed the strictest in Australia, has long been on the agenda, but little concrete action has eventuated. The State government will wait for former Supreme Court judge Paul Stein to release a review of a draft bill on OH&S.

“NSW has got very tough standards but at the same time we are very interested in protecting the health and safety of workers,” Tripodi told the AFR.

Other key areas targeted for regulatory reform under the new better regulation guidelines include – environmental standards, planning, liquor laws and child-care.

The harmonization of business law across Australia has been a looming issue with enterprises complaining that a hotchpotch series of state laws was adding to the costs of doing business.

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