Government Announces Review of Regulatory Impact Assessment
Today, the Government announced an independent review of its regulatory impact assessment (RIA) process.
The Review will assess the extent to which the Government’s Best Practice Regulation Handbook and its interpretation and administration by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) are consistent with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) guiding principles for regulatory quality and performance.
The Review will be undertaken by Robert Milliner and David Borthwick AO PSM.
Mr Milliner is a leading figure in Australia’s business community, and has made a major contribution to the debate about regulatory reform in Australia through his involvement with the Business Council of Australia.
Mr Borthwick brings a strong public sector background, including in the Commonwealth Departments of the Treasury and Health and Ageing and as Secretary for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
The OECD recognised Australia as one of the front running countries in its approach to regulatory reform and praised the quality of Australia’s RIA following their 2010 Review of Regulatory reform in Australia.
Since the OECD review, the Government introduced a range of measures on 1 July 2010 to strengthen its RIA processes, including:
- a requirement that the OBPR maintain a central website of all Regulation Impact Statements (RISs), including those assessed as inadequate;
- publication of RISs and OBPR’s assessment as soon as practicable from the date of the regulatory decision; and
- a requirement for senior sign-off in agencies of RISs before they are passed to OBPR for assessment.
In introducing the revised arrangements in 2010, the Government undertook to review their operation in two years.
The Government has been discussing the Review with businesses and the Review reflects the Government’s continuing commitment to ensure regulation is well targeted and does not increase costs to business and the community.
The review will be reported to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator the Hon Penny Wong by 20 April 2012.
The Government has also agreed new measures to improve the resources available to the Commonwealth agencies when they prepare Regulation Impact Statement (RISs).
Officers from the OBPR, which is responsible for assessing whether RISs demonstrate an appropriate level of analysis, will now be available to agencies to assist them to prepare good quality RISs.
This will formalise arrangements which have been operating informally for some time, where OBPR staff are out-posted to agencies to assist the development of high quality RISs. This process builds agency capability and reduces the extent to which agencies rely on consultancies to develop RISs on their behalf.
Department of Finance and Deregulation
Communications and Public Affairs