Billion dollar man: Josh Frydenberg meets with Business Council of Australia to talk cuts to red and green tape

The parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg, is meeting today with the Business Council of Australia to talk red and green tape cuts.

Frydenberg has been charged with reducing red and green tape administration costs by $1 billion per year nationally, and has been meeting with industry groups to find out ways it can be done.

Reports suggest the meeting with the BCA is likely to cover the government’s proposal to set a streamlined system for environmental approvals.

The BCA was contacted by SmartCompany for more details this morning, but no response was received prior to publication.

Frydenberg wrote in The Australian newspaper recently that “one of the most effective ways to boost productivity is via the micro-economic reform agenda of deregulation”.

“It is an area where Labor failed and the Coalition must succeed,” he wrote.

“With the Prime Minister’s own department now taking responsibility for the Deregulation Unit previously housed in Finance, the Prime Minister is well placed to lead this charge.”

The meeting today with the BCA will also be attended by representatives of major companies including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Telstra and Credit Suisse, reports suggest.

Frydenberg met with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson last week. Anderson was unavailable for comment this morning. However, a representative for ACCI said it was a brief introduction meeting, and a chance to put forward the case for small business and red tape reduction at the “earliest opportunity”.

The spokesperson said ACCI’s ongoing “Too Big to Ignore” campaign would have formed the basis of conversation. The campaign calls for the government to cut red tape, simplify the tax system, make it easier to employ people and build better infrastructure.

Frydenberg has also met with the Australian Institute of Company Directors and SmartCompany understands, the Council of Small Business of Australia. COSBOA chief executive Peter Strong has long been advocating for the government to cut red tape. He told SmartCompany after the federal election that he was looking forward to working with the Coalition on red tape removal.

Australian Institute of Company Directors general manager of communications Steve Burrell told SmartCompany this morning the AICD discussed with Frydenberg the view that deregulation should be a “critical part of the new government’s economic policy challenge”.

“We had a very fruitful and productive discussion which emphasised the need for regulatory reform,” he said. “That is, it’s not just about having less regulation – we need better and more efficient regulation.

“It is the whole system of creating and removing regulation that needs to be reformed, not just the individual regulations themselves. While the reforms should be initiated and supported by the Commonwealth Government, there needs to be a consistent national response to the reforms.

“We are encouraged that the new Government is consulting with us and other business groups.”

The Minerals Council of Australia has also reportedly met with Frydenberg. Last week chief executive Mitchell Hooke said in a statement the MCA has “long advocated the need to streamline federal and state processes.”

Hooke was pleased with the Coalition’s recent announcement for a framework to streamline project approvals between the Commonwealth and states. He said it was a “long overdue reform of Australia’s cumbersome and inefficient green tape burden”.

Research by the MCA found that since 2006 there had been more than 120 changes to state and federal government approvals laws and supporting legislation in the minerals industry.


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