10 March 2015

Export regulation enabled by the Horticulture Marketing and Research and Development Services Act 2000

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Agriculture

On 14 January 2015, the Minister for Agriculture wrote to Citrus Australia Limited (CAL), the Australian Horticultural Exporters Association and the export control body, Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited, advising of his decision to extend the horticulture export efficiency powers (EEPs) for a further two years, to 31 January 2017. EEPs had been due to terminate on 31 January 2015.

The EEPs allow horticultural industries to apply to the government for conditions to be placed on horticultural produce exported from Australia such as:

  • requiring the use of specific importing or exporting agents;
  • establishing quality, colour, shape or size standards for produce; and
  • requiring exporting businesses to participate in an approved export program.

A regulation impact statement (RIS) was completed in December 2014, which presented 3 options:

  • maintain the current EEP arrangements)
  • cease the current EEP arrangements by revoking the orders and the regulations
  • cease the current EEP arrangements by revoking the orders and the regulations and removing the head of powers.

The Minister decided to extend the EEP arrangements for two years to enable the citrus industry to work with Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited to improve the operational effectiveness (including compliance), transparency and communication activity associated with the powers. The decision by the Minister to extend the EEP arrangements by 2 years will not result in any changes to compliance costs to businesses.

The RIS prepared and certified by the Department of Agriculture was assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.


26 February 2015

Enhancing Online Safety for Children – Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Communications

On 3 December 2014, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications introduced legislation containing a range of proposals to combat cyber-bullying and provide a safer online environment for children. The proposals included the establishment of the Children’s e‑Safety Commissioner and setting out the Commissioner’s functions and powers, and are supported by a range of non regulatory actions including an education and awareness raising campaign.

The proposals were informed by public and industry consultation conducted throughout 2014.

The proposals have been assessed as likely to have a measurable but contained impact on the economy.  A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Department of Communications and has been assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).

The OBPR notes that the process followed by the Department of Communications and the level of analysis contained in the RIS were consistent with best practice.

The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost at $0.43 million per annum, and identifies offsets. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost and offset estimates.


19 February 2015

Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 – Stakeholder request – Attorney-General’s Department

On 30 October 2014 the Attorney-General and the Minister for Communications announced the introduction of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014.

The Australian Government’s Guide to Regulation (Guide) states that the choice of Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) appropriate to the task is up to the agency in conjunction with the OBPR. The Attorney-General’s Department chose to complete a short-form RIS for the proposal to implement a mandatory data retention regime. The Department is compliant with the RIS requirements.

This web post responds to a request from a stakeholder consistent with the Government’s User Guide to the Australian Government Guide to Regulation (page 8)


19 February 2015

Changes to foreign investment screening arrangements – Stakeholder request – Department of the Treasury

On 11 February 2015 the Prime Minister, Treasurer and the Minister for Agriculture announced changes to the screening arrangements for foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural sector.

The Australian Government’s Guide to Regulation (Guide) states that the choice of Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) appropriate to the task is up to the agency in conjunction with the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR). The Department of the Treasury chose to complete a short-form RIS for the proposed changes to the foreign investment screening arrangements. It was the OBPR’s view that for this proposal a standard-form RIS would have been consistent with best practice. The Department is compliant with the RIS requirements.

This web post responds to a request from a stakeholder consistent with the Government’s User Guide to the Australian Government Guide to Regulation (page 8).


4 February 2015

Best Practice Regulation Report 2013 -14

Today we released our annual compliance report, the Best Practice Regulation Report 2013‑14. It’s our independent assessment of compliance with Australian Government and Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) best practice regulation requirements. Essentially, it considers whether a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared for each significant decision and whether it was published. It also includes information about post-implementation reviews.

The 2013-14 report shows an increase in compliance with the Australian Government’s best practice regulation requirements. At the decision-making stage, compliance was 98 per cent in 2013-14, up from 97 per cent in 2012-13. There was one non-compliant Australian Government proposal at the decision‑making stage in 2013-14, compared with two in 2012‑13. An ‘exceptional circumstances’ exemption was granted by the Prime Minister (where no regulation impact statement is required to be prepared) on one occasion during 2013-14, down from eight in 2012-13.

Non-compliance with the post-implementation review requirements increased to eight in 2013-14, compared with three in the previous year. Each instance of non-compliance was because the post‑implementation review was not completed within the required timeframe.

The report also shows an increase in compliance at the decision-making stage to 88 per cent by COAG Councils and national standard‑setting bodies in 2013-14. This compares to 86 per cent in the previous year. COAG’s best practice regulation requirements were not met at the decision-making stage on one occasion in 2013-14, down from two in the previous year.

The report also discusses recent changes to the Australian Government RIS system and how the Office of Best Practice Regulation’s role has evolved.

Best Practice Regulation Report 2013‑14


23 January 2015

Revised Accounting Standard for Revenue from Contracts with Customers – Regulation Impact Statement – Australian Accounting Standards Board

On 23 December 2014, the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) announced it had approved a new standard, AASB 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers, that addresses the financial reporting of revenue and cash flows arising from an entity’s contracts with customers.

The new standard establishes principles, and includes disclosure requirements, for reporting information about the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers, based on the international financial reporting standard IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers.

IFRS 15 addressed concerns by users of financial statements that existing revenue standards have led to inconsistencies between entities’ reported revenues, principally in relation to when an entity recognises revenue under some long term contracts (e.g. some construction contracts) and contracts that bundle together goods and services (e.g. contracts that bundle a telephone handset with network services). By incorporating the requirements of IFRS 15 into AASB 15, the new Australian standard addresses these issues as they apply to Australia and ensures that financial statements prepared by Australian entities in accordance with Australian accounting standards will remain compliant with international financial reporting standards. The costs incurred to comply with the new standard are expected to be primarily one-off implementation costs and, to a lesser extent, some ongoing preparation costs for some industries, with the most significant costs for entities that operate in the software and telecommunications services industries.

The proposal has been assessed as likely to have a measurable but contained impact on the economy with no impacts on competition.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the AASB, and has been assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR). In addition, the OBPR advises that the process followed by the AASB and the level of analysis contained in the RIS was consistent with best practice.

The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost at $15.1 million per annum, and identifies offsets. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost and offset estimates.


23 January 2015

Revised Accounting Standard for Financial Instruments – Regulation Impact Statement – Australian Accounting Standards Board

On 23 December 2014, the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) announced it had approved a new standard for accounting for financial instruments, AASB 9 Financial Instruments, to supersede earlier versions of AASB 9 issued in December 2009 and December 2010. The new standard incorporates the international financial reporting standard IFRS 9 Financial Instruments issued in July 2014, which made changes in relation to:

  • reporting impairment of financial assets; and
  • classification and measurement of financial assets, including the introduction of a measurement category of ‘fair value through other comprehensive income’ for debt instruments.

The July 2014 international standard addressed concerns by users of financial statements that the existing standard for recognition of financial losses on loans did not sufficiently incorporate information on expected losses.

By incorporating the requirements of IFRS 9 into AASB 9, the new Australian standard both addresses those concerns in Australia and ensures that financial statements prepared by Australian entities in accordance with Australian accounting standards will remain compliant with international financial reporting standards. To implement the new approach to financial reporting, Australian banks, plus their auditors, will face both initial and, to a lesser extent, ongoing compliance costs. There may also be costs arising from flow on effects of changes to reported profits and total net assets, such as through making adjustments to existing contractual arrangements and complying with the requirements of prudential and tax regulations.

The proposal has been assessed as likely to have a measurable but contained impact on the economy with no impacts on competition.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the AASB, and has been assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).

The OBPR notes that the preparation of the RIS was not consistent with best practice because of the limited depth of analysis of the benefits to business of maintaining harmonisation with international standards and the full economic costs of adopting the new standard.

The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost at $32.2 million per annum, and identifies offsets. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost and offset estimates.


19 January 2015

Employee Share Schemes and Start-ups – Regulation Impact Statement for consultation – The Treasury

On 14 October 2014, the Minister for Industry and the Prime Minister jointly announced  the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. The report includes a proposal to improve taxation arrangements for Employee Share Schemes.

The proposal considers changing the taxation point for options in employee share schemes and allowing start-ups to offer options and shares at a small discount that will generally be exempt from up-front taxation. These changes intend to increase the number of employees participating in Employee Share Schemes.

The proposal has been assessed by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) as likely to have a measurable but contained impact on the economy with no impacts on competition.

A Regulation Impact Statement has been prepared by the Treasury for consultation. Consultations on this RIS are now open and will close on 6 February 2015. If you wish to provide feedback on the analysis within the RIS, please send an email to ess@treasury.gov.au.

The RIS has been certified by the Treasury and was subject to an early assessment by the OBPR.

 


19 January 2015

Telecommunications (Due Date for Annual Carrier Licence Charge) Determination No. 1 and Telecommunications (Late Payment of Annual Carrier Licence Charge) Determination No. 1 of 1999 – Remaking of sunsetting instruments without amendments – Australian Communications and Media Authority

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) remade and consolidated two sunsetting legislative instruments without significant amendments on 8 September 2014: the Telecommunications (Due Date for Annual Carrier Licence Charge) Determination No. 1 of 1999 and Telecommunications (Late Payment of Annual Carrier Licence Charge) Determination No. 1 of 1999.

The instruments outline the payment rules for the annual carrier licence charge under Part 3 of the Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Charges) Act 1997.

The proposal has been assessed by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) as likely to have a limited impact on the economy with no impacts on competition.

In line with the Australian Government best practice regulation requirements for sunsetting legislative instruments, the ACMA has assessed the operation of these instruments in consultation with affected stakeholders and has certified that these instruments are operating efficiently and effectively.

As the instruments were remade without amendments there are no compliance cost changes.


8 January 2015

Building Code 2014 advance release – Independent Review – Department of Employment

On 17 April 2014, the Government published an advance release of the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014 (‘the Building Code’). On 28 November 2014 it published a further advance release.

The Building Code sets out the standard of workplace relations conduct expected from those contractors that want to perform work funded by the Commonwealth Government. Among other provisions, the Code prohibits the inclusion of clauses in enterprise agreements that:

  • would impose limits on the right of the code covered entity to manage its business or to improve productivity;
  • would discriminate, against certain persons, classes of employees, or subcontractors; or
  • are inconsistent with freedom of association requirements set out elsewhere in the Code.

While the Code does not come into effect until the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2014 commences as an Act, the advance release of the Code notes that the provisions described above apply in respect of enterprise agreements made after 24 April 2014, or that were varied in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009. These clauses are likely to have the effect of influencing enterprise agreements negotiated in the building and construction industry from that date.

The two decisions to make an advance release of the Building Code 2014 were informed by analysis and consultations undertaken by the Coalition Taskforce on Re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission prior to the 2013 Federal election, and by the Department of Employment subsequently.

This process was certified by the Department of Employment as meeting the requirements of a Regulation Impact Statement. The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) does not assess independent reviews. In certifying the process the Department of Employment did not follow best practice as the self-assessment and agreement to regulatory costs occurred after the first decision to publish an advance release of the Building Code 2014 on 17 April 2014.

The Department of Employment estimates the reduction in annual regulatory burden is approximately $1.05 million. The OBPR has agreed to the estimated change in regulatory burden.