Business de-regulation, step one

Prime Minister Rudd is talking the talk on business de-regulation – whether he can walk the walk is yet to be seen.

In announcing a snap Council of Australian Governments meeting next week, Rudd said that after health, hospitals, education and climate change, a “full frontal assault on the business deregulation agenda was next”.

“The business deregulation agenda has been on the national reform agenda of COAG but has essentially been stillborn,” he reportedly said.

“There has been very little progress and I’m signaling that this must be a core area for us because the business community is now excessively burdened by the quantum of regulations which is undermining creativity and enterprise in the private economy.”

ACCI estimated in a position paper in November 2005 that the direct and indirect cost of regulation to the Australian economy was approximately $86 billion a year, or 10.2% of GDP.

Greg Evans, director, industry policy and innovation at ACCI, says COAG is well-placed to sort out the compliance burden caused by different regulation at different levels of government.

ACCI has called for an increase in the GST registration threshold and for state

governments to work towards harmonisation of state taxes.

Greg Hayes, senior partner at accounting firm Hayes Knight, says one of the areas requiring urgent reform is the inconsistency around definitions and regulations on payroll tax. “That would be the standout one that tends to create greater confusion, between different state levels.”


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