By Julian Bajkowski
Prime Minister Tony Abbottâ€™s campaign to reduce size and influence of the bureaucracy has shifted up a gear after the government announced that it will scrap 12 non-statutory bodies outright and amalgamate another as part of crackdown on regulatory proliferation.
The government claims that the latest round of administrative demolition will save â€œbusiness and the community â€¦ at least $1 billion each year, every yearâ€ but has not yet said how much the cuts will take or add to the Budget bottom line.
Non-statutory bodies are relatively easy to prune away in terms of administration because their functions are not protected or governed by specific Acts that would require a change in legislation to achieve. That same ease makes them quick to set-up and it is not uncommon for ministers to resort to special committees when they are trying to expedite or get advice outside their departments.
The non-statutory bodies now slated for outright abolition and shutdown before the next Budget are:
â€¢Â Â Â Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee.
â€¢Â Â Â Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council.
â€¢Â Â Â International Legal Services Advisory Council.
â€¢Â Â Â National Inter-country Adoption Advisory Council.
â€¢Â Â Â National Steering Committee on Corporate Wrongdoing.
â€¢Â Â Â Antarctic Animal Ethics Committee.
â€¢Â Â Â Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula.
â€¢Â Â Â High Speed Rail Advisory Group.
â€¢Â Â Â Maritime Workforce Development Forum.
â€¢Â Â Â Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.
â€¢Â Â Â Insurance Reform Advisory Group.
â€¢Â Â Â National Housing Supply Council.
Bodies being merged into other organisations or absorbed into departments are:
â€¢Â Â Â National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing amalgamated with Prime Ministerâ€™s Indigenous Advisory Council.
â€¢Â Â Â National Children and Family Roundtable and Prime Ministerâ€™s Council on Homelessness to be amalgamated with Social Services Ministerial Advisory Council.
â€¢Â Â Â Pulp and Paper Advisory Group to be managed by the Manufacturing Leaders Group.
Meanwhile, the Prime Ministerâ€™s hard line stand against a perceived culture of interventionist overregulation is continuing at pace.
â€œRegulation wonâ€™t be the default position for government and will only be imposed where unavoidable,â€ a statement issued by the Prime Minister said. â€œExcessive, unnecessary regulation stifles productivity, investment and job creation and saps business confidence.â€
That may be true, but even government needs official mechanisms to prosecute its agenda and will now effectively regulate regulation at a direct ministerial level.
â€œCabinet submissions will henceforth require regulatory impact statements that quantify the compliance costs imposed and matching compliance cost cuts where regulation is unavoidable,â€ Mr Abbott said.
The Prime Minister said that over the last six years “more than 21,000 additional regulations were introduced, productivity declined and Australia fell in the global competitiveness rankings.â€
The strength of the Australian dollar fuelled by the nationâ€™s avoidance of a recession related to the Global Financial Crisis also helped those factors along.
Mr Abbott said that there are now more than 50,000 Acts and legislative instruments â€œmany of which are a handbrake on Australiaâ€™s ability to get things done.â€
Unless you are a lawyer.
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