Broom put through non statutory Federal bodies

By Julian Bajkowski

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’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 “business and the community … at least $1 billion each year, every year” 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:

•    Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee.
•    Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council.
•    International Legal Services Advisory Council.
•    National Inter-country Adoption Advisory Council.
•    National Steering Committee on Corporate Wrongdoing.
•    Antarctic Animal Ethics Committee.
•    Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula.
•    High Speed Rail Advisory Group.
•    Maritime Workforce Development Forum.
•    Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.
•    Insurance Reform Advisory Group.
•    National Housing Supply Council.

Bodies being merged into other organisations or absorbed into departments are:

•    National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing amalgamated with Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.
•    National Children and Family Roundtable and Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness to be amalgamated with Social Services Ministerial Advisory Council.
•    Pulp and Paper Advisory Group to be managed by the Manufacturing Leaders Group.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s hard line stand against a perceived culture of interventionist overregulation is continuing at pace.

“Regulation won’t be the default position for government and will only be imposed where unavoidable,” a statement issued by the Prime Minister said. “Excessive, unnecessary regulation stifles productivity, investment and job creation and saps business confidence.”

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.

“Cabinet submissions will henceforth require regulatory impact statements that quantify the compliance costs imposed and matching compliance cost cuts where regulation is unavoidable,” 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.”

The strength of the Australian dollar fuelled by the nation’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 “many of which are a handbrake on Australia’s ability to get things done.”

Unless you are a lawyer.

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One thought on “Broom put through non statutory Federal bodies

  1. Hopefully actions will match words. At present we might paraphrase Mark Twain:
    “Everyone complains about the paperwork, but no one does anything about it.”

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