Government’s fourth red tape repeal day to be less “controversial” but a focus on states is good for SMEs

Government’s fourth red tape repeal day to be less “controversial” but a focus on states is good for SMEs

The federal government’s fourth red tape repeal day begins today, with the aim of trimming redundant tax laws and making it easier for people with a terminal illness to access their superannuation.

The government has held three repeal days so far, previously trumpeting a reduction in more than $2.45 billion in compliance costs for businesses and the community.

However, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is taking a fresh approach when it comes to promoting the government’s red tape busting agenda.

While ministers in the Abbott government were quick to spruik their efforts in cutting red tape for small business, the new assistant minister for productivity, Peter Hendy, is taking a softer approach.

Last year’s red tape reduction bill was knocked back by the Senate, but Hendy will today introduce a new bill without any of the “controversial stuff”.
Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, Hendy said today’s bill, which was introduced to parliament this morning, also adds “a lot more” to the previous red tape reduction effort.

“Today, we’ll be putting a bill to parliament that will reduce some of the red tape in the superannuation area,” Hendy said.

“We’ve done very well and we want to advance the agenda. There’s going to be a strong focus on the states and there’s also going to be a focus on productivity measures.”

Hendy said the government has so far removed 3600 redundant acts of parliament but it wants the states to do more when it comes to reducing red tape.

“The big thing we are going to be doing is announcing that we’re going to have a lot more focus on the states,” Hendy said.

“If the state governments want us to be engaged in a debate about tax, then we need them to engage in a discussion about regulation that duplicates [and] imposes real costs on the community and business.”

As part of today’s red tape reduction agenda, superannuation laws will be tweaked to allow for the Commissioner of Taxation to pay superannuation directly to people with a terminal medical condition.

Small business minister and assistant treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer introduced the legislation to parliament this morning, which will also see a number of inoperative acts and provisions in taxation law removed.

Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany he welcomes the federal government calling on the states to do more to reduce red tape.

“A lot of the red tape we see [affecting small business] is from local government and from state governments,” Strong says.

“So certainly a focus on local governments is a good message. Red tape comes from an attitudinal problem where the people who administer the rules at a local level can be a bit over the top.”

As for whether Strong is concerned about the government’s softer approach when it comes to spruiking the cutting of red tape in comparison to previous repeal days, Strong says it doesn’t matter as long as the job is still being done.

“The more red tape we remove from anybody, the better it is for everybody,” he says.

“More people are likely to spend money if they’re saving money and not having to go through a convoluted process.”

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