13 August 2014

Australian Government Guide to Regulation – Guidance Notes

The Office of Best Practice Regulation has today published a range of guidance material associated with the Australian Government Guide to Regulation. The purpose of these guidance notes are to assist policy makers on particular aspects of preparing a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) or Post-implementation review.

These documents will be updated from time to time as necessary to support the Guide to Regulation.

The full list of guidance notes is:

  1. User Guide to the Australian Government Guide to Regulation
  2. Best practice consultation guidance note
  3. ‘Is a RIS required?’ form
  4. Carve-outs guidance note
  5. Regulatory Burden Measurement framework guidance note
  6. Cost-benefit analysis guidance note
  7. Individuals guidance note
  8. Commonwealth programmes guidance note
  9. Short Form RIS templates guidance note
  10. Competition and regulation guidance note
  11. Risk analysis in regulation impact statements guidance note
  12. Environmental valuation guidance note
  13. Community organisations guidance note
  14. Trade impact assessments guidance note
  15. Independent reviews and the RIS process guidance note
  16. Sunsetting legislative instruments guidance note
  17. Post-implementation reviews guidance note

The Guidance notes can be downloaded from the DPMC website.

6 August 2014

Streamlining Disclosure and Liability Requirements– Details-stage Regulation Impact Statement – The Treasury

On 15 May 2014 legislation was introduced into Parliament to reduce disclosure requirements and company Directors’ risk in relation to the issuance of simple retail corporate bonds.

Previously, the Corporations Act required a corporation to prepare a full prospectus for the offer of corporate bonds to retail investors. Additionally, a Director had liability for any misstatement in, or omission from, the disclosure document irrespective of whether the Director was involved in the misstatement or omission.

The RIS considers that the relatively onerous disclosure and liability requirements have resulted in an unnecessarily low number of simple retail corporate bonds being issued. Consequently, the RIS proposes to limit the disclosure obligations by introducing a 2-part prospectus for certain bond issuances. The 2-part prospectus is structured accordingly into a base component and an offer-specific component:

  • Base: the base component can be used for three years and contains general information that is unlikely to change significantly over three years about the issuer and the bond issue.
  • Offer-specific: for each fund raising tranche, issuers will need to provide a second document outlining the key details of the offer, that being the offer-specific prospectus.

The changes also limit the application of the Directors’ liability requirements.

It is considered that these changes will reduce the costs of issuing simple retail corporate bonds, and consequently increase the number of these bonds that are issued.

The RIS estimates that the regulatory cost reductions will be zero. This is because no corporate entities intended to issue retail corporate bonds in the future under the previous regulatory regime.

Consistent with the best practice regulation requirements, a Details-stage RIS was prepared by the Treasury and assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.


1 August 2014

Radiotelecommunications regulations – remaking of sunsetting instruments without amendments

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have decided to remake two sunsetting legislative instruments without significant amendments: the Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Electromagnetic Radiation) Notice 2003 and the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation – Human Exposure) Standard 2003.

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 interest groups, and have certified that these instruments are operating efficiently and effectively.

29 July 2014

Best practice consultation guidance note

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has published a range of guidance material associated with the Australian Government Guide to Regulation.

This guidance note provides additional detail on the application of the whole-of-government consultation principles outlined in the Guide to Regulation, as well as the role of OBPR in encouraging best practice consultation processes.


29 July 2014

User Guide to the Australian Government Guide to Regulation

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has published a range of guidance material associated with the Australian Government Guide to Regulation.

This User Guide is designed to be read alongside the Guide to Regulation. It provides detail on the specifics of developing your Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) and having it assessed by the OBPR.

Among other things, this guide will help you decide what type of RIS to undertake and provide helpful step-by-step advice.

25 July 2014

Biosecurity Legislation - Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Agriculture

On 7 July 2014, the Government announced plans to progress the Biosecurity Bill 2014 to replace the Quarantine Act 1908.

The proposed biosecurity legislation is designed to reduce unnecessary red tape and provide a more flexible risk based approach to compliance.

The reforms will lead to better outcomes for business and Australia’s biosecurity risk management. The legislation builds on and expands the existing benefits to the Commonwealth and industry members by improving partnerships to manage biosecurity risk and allowing industry to contribute to managing biosecurity risk in return for a commercial advantage.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has agreed that the estimated regulatory cost savings is $6.9 million per annum. This is due to clearer, easier to use legislation and improved processes. However the compliance cost burden on some industry participants is estimated to increase. This is primarily through the increased regulation to manage the biosecurity risk associated with ballast water by domestic vessel movement.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the department under the March 2014 Australian Government best practice regulation requirements, and has been assessed by the OBPR as meeting best practice.

25 July 2014

Toxic chemicals of security concern – COAG Consultation Regulation Impact Statement – Attorney-General’s Department

On 17 July 2014, the Attorney-General’s Department released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) examining the proposed measures to enhance chemical security in relation to 84 toxic chemicals of security concern. These include a variety of industrial, agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

The Attorney-General’s Department has raised concerns that these toxic chemicals could be exploited by individuals and groups for criminal purposes – particularly terrorism and organised crime.

The Attorney-General’s Department invites submissions on the consultation RIS.  Submissions are open until 5pm on Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

This Consultation RIS has been approved by the OBPR.

22 July 2014

Maximum level for tutin in honey – COAG Consultation Regulation Impact Statement – Food Standards Australia New Zealand

On 10 July 2014 Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) issued a call for submissions in response to its proposal to introduce a permanent maximum level (ML) for tutin in honey.

Tutin is a plant-derived neurotoxin, which can sometimes be present in honey produced in parts of New Zealand. Following a severe poisoning incident in New Zealand in 2008 temporary MLs for tutin in honey and comb honey were adopted into the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code while further research and evaluation was conducted. The temporary MLs are due to expire on 31 March 2015.

FSANZ is proposing that the MLs of tutin in honey and comb honey be reduced from the current temporary levels, and be made permanent. This recommendation is based on scientific research that indicates that some people may have adverse reactions to tutin even at levels below the current temporary MLs. The proposed levels may result in higher testing and blending costs for some New Zealand honey producers, but will reduce the risk to public health from tutin poisoning.

A Council of Australian Governments Consultation RIS has been prepared by the FSANZ, and assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.

FSANZ will receive submissions on the proposal until 21 August 2014.

17 July 2014

Superannuation Entities Accounting Standard – Regulation Impact Statement – Australian Accounting Standards Board

On 6 June 2014, the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) announced a replacement accounting standard for superannuation entities.

The existing standard was considered out of date because of significant changes in Australia’s superannuation industry over the last two decades and the adoption in Australia of International Financial Reporting Standards.

Key changes in the replacement standard were to:

  • measure assets using fair value instead of net market value;
  • measure defined benefit member liability annually instead of triennially;
  • provide guidance on when an insurance exposure might exist; and
  • require additional disclosures relating to liabilities, risks, type of members and their benefits.

The proposal has been assessed as likely to have a measurable but limited impact on the economy with minor impacts on competition.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the AASB under the March 2014 Australian Government Guide to Regulation, and has been assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR). However, the preparation of the RIS was not consistent with best practice because the impacts of the new standard on affected stakeholders’ financial statements were not sufficiently examined.

The RIS estimates the regulatory cost is $1.2 million per annum, and identifies offsets. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost and offset estimates.

15 July 2014

Correction of webpost - Revocation of the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines and the Fair Work Principles

Coverage of the OBPR’s webpost of 10 July 2014 has highlighted an error in the OBPR’s summary of the RIS. In particular, the summary incorrectly stated that “Individual employees undertaking cleaning work under a contract subject to the Guidelines – there were 25 to 30 contracts extant at the time the Guidelines were revoked – may receive lower remuneration when their current employment agreements expire.”

The OBPR has since corrected the webpost.