26 August 2015

Expanding accelerated depreciation for small businesses

Regulation Impact Statement – The Treasury

As part of the 2015-16 Budget, the Treasurer announced accelerated depreciation arrangements for small business asset purchases of up to $20,000 in cost.

Under these arrangements, small businesses will be allowed to immediately deduct assets costing less than $20,000 if they are acquired and installed ready for use after 12 May 2015 and before 1 July 2017. The measure will apply to small businesses with aggregate annual turnover of less than $2 million. These changes are intended to improve cash flow for small businesses and provide a boost to small business activity and investment.

From 1 July 2017, the thresholds for the immediate depreciation of assets will revert back to existing arrangements.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Treasury under the Australian Government’s best practice regulation requirements, and has been assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).

The RIS estimates that the measure will reduce regulatory costs on small businesses by $6.1 million a year for the two years the measure is in place by reducing record keeping costs. The OBPR has agreed to this estimate of regulatory savings.


7 August 2015

Class Orders for Agency banking, Transitional relief for deposit product providers (PDSs and periodic statements) and General insurance distributors

Remaking of sunsetting instruments without substantive amendments – Australian Securities and Investments Commission

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) remade three sunsetting legislative instrument without significant amendments on 27 July 2015: ASIC Class Orders [CO 04/909], [CO 05/681] and [CO 05/1070].

  • Class Order [CO 04/909] permits certain agents who are engaged by an authorised deposit-taking institution to arrange for the issue of basic deposit products without the need to hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence or to be formally appointed as an authorised representative.
  • Class Order [CO 05/681] provides conditional relief to deposit product providers, exempting them from the requirement to disclose interest rates in Product Disclosure Statements and termination values in periodic statements.
  • Class Order [CO 05/1070] deems a distributor of an AFS licensee, authorised to deal in general insurance products, as a representative of that licensee when they provide the financial service of dealing in a general insurance product.

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

Therefore the Office of Best Practice Regulation notes that a Regulation Impact Statement is not required for the Class Orders to be remade. As the Class Orders were remade without substantive amendments there are no compliance cost changes.


31 July 2015

Reducing Superannuation Compliance Costs for Small Business

Regulation Impact Statement – Treasury

On 27 May 2015, the Treasurer introduced the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2015.

The Bill contains two amendments to the employers’ choice of fund obligations that will reduce the compliance costs of the superannuation system on small businesses. Under these amendments, employers are no longer required to offer a choice of superannuation fund to:

  • temporary resident employees; and
  • all employees in circumstances when superannuation funds merge.

The amendments are part of a package that is expected to reduce the regulatory costs of the superannuation system on businesses by $46.4m per year.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Treasury under the Australian Government’s best practice regulation requirements, and has been assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).


31 July 2015

Explosives Regulation in Australia

COAG Consultation Regulation Impact Statement – Safe Work Australia

On 30 July 2015, Safe Work Australia released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on Explosives Regulation in Australia.

Australia primarily uses explosives for mining-related activities, especially blasting. Explosives are also used for quarrying, construction, demolition and defence purposes, as well as for agricultural blasting, fireworks and special effects in the entertainment industry.

Australia’s state, territory and Commonwealth governments have separate systems for regulating explosives. These different regulatory frameworks have produced systems which address similar activities, such as licensing, authorisations, transporting, selling, importing, exporting, manufacturing and using explosives, but can impose different requirements for each activity.

Safe Work Australia is conducting a public consultation on behalf of states, territories and the Commonwealth to gather information about issues that the differences in Australian jurisdictions’ explosives legislation may raise for stakeholders in the explosives industry and members of the public.

The COAG RIS for consultation prepared by Safe Work Australia has been approved by the OBPR.

Safe Work Australia will accept submissions on the Consultation RIS until 5.30 pm AEST, Thursday 10 September 2015.


31 July 2015

Coastal Shipping Reform

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

On 25 June 2015, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development introduced a Bill in the House of Representatives to amend arrangements for vessels and crew trading between Australian ports.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and was assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).

The Bill introduces a simplified permit system to give foreign and Australian flagged vessels access to coastal shipping. The bill also establishes a framework of entitlements for seafarers on foreign vessels engaging or intending to engage in coastal shipping for more than 183 days, and includes minimum entitlements for seafarers on Australian vessels that are registered on the Australian International Shipping Register when those vessels are engaged in coastal shipping work covered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Fair Work Act). The Bill also establishes requirements to ensure foreign vessels engaged on the Australian coast for more than 183 days have two senior skilled crew members who are eligible to work in Australia because they are citizens or residents or hold a relevant visa.

The RIS estimates these arrangements will have a net economic benefit of $667.4 million and reduce regulatory costs by $21.4 million per annum. The regulatory saving was agreed with the OBPR.

As the reforms have been assessed by the OBPR as having a substantial impact on the sector and the economy, the Australian Government’s RIS process requires a post implementation review to be completed for the coastal shipping reforms within five years of being implemented.


31 July 2015

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Regulation Impact Statement – The Treasury

On 3 June 2015, the Minister for Small Business introduced a Bill in the House of Representatives establishing the position of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to advocate for and assist small business.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Treasury and was assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR). The RIS examined ways to implement the Government’s election commitment to create a Small Business Ombudsman, including a dispute resolution role.

The RIS estimates the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s dispute resolution role will reduce regulatory burden by $7,000 per annum. The regulatory saving was agreed with the OBPR.


21 July 2015

Proposed changes to the personally controlled electronic health record system

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Health

On 10 May 2015, the Minister for Health announced developments to the personally controlled electronic health record system for patients and healthcare providers that will trial an opt-out model and introduce new governance arrangements.

The electronic health records system enables doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers across the country to have instant access to the information needed to treat patients safely and efficiently.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has assessed that the process followed by the Department of Health and the level of analysis contained in the Regulation Impact Statement is consistent with best practice. The average annual regulatory cost is estimated to be $0.4 million. The cost and the offset identified have been agreed with the OBPR.


21 July 2015

Tuition Protection Service

Post-implementation Review – Department of Education and Training

On 23 September 2011 the then Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations announced a decision to introduce a new Tuition Protection Service and other related measures under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.

The Tuition Protection Service is a single mechanism to place students when an education provider closes, or as a last resort, to provide refunds of unspent course fees. A number of complementary initiatives were also introduced, including limits on the amount of pre-paid course fees that may be collected by providers; requirements for some providers to keep initial pre-paid fees in a separate account until a student commences study; strengthened record keeping obligations; and the establishment of a national registration system which would allow the registration of providers who operate across jurisdictions.

The proposal was assessed as likely to have a measurable impact on the economy, but a compliant Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was not prepared before the decision was made. The June 2010 RIS requirements applied at that time.

The proposal was implemented in July 2012.

A post-implementation review (PIR) was completed by the Department of Education and Training in January 2015 and was assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation. The PIR found that stakeholders mostly supported the changes and considered the changes were effectively meeting their goals. However, the PIR also identified some scope to reduce administrative burden.


21 July 2015

Response to the Review of the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner and the Australian Government Building and Construction Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Employment

On 22 October 2014, the Australian Government announced changes to safety accreditation arrangements for builders working on Commonwealth-funded construction projects.

The changes to the Australian Government Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme (Scheme) responded to a review of the Scheme undertaken by the Department of Employment. The review was informed by an expert advisory panel of key stakeholders.

Changes to the Scheme included adopting measures as recommended in the review to modernise the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner and the Scheme, including amending the scope of the Scheme to exclude coverage of single dwelling domestic housing, and increasing the current maximum re-accreditation period from three to up to six years.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared by the Department of Employment and has been assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).

The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory saving at about $9.7 million per annum. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory estimate.


13 July 2015

Improved Protection of Vehicle Occupants in Side Impact Crashes

Regulation Impact Statement for consultation – Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

On 19 June 2015, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development released a draft Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) for consultation which considers the case for regulating improved protection of vehicle occupants in side impact crashes.

Side impact crashes are one of the largest causes of road crash trauma in Australia. Side impact crashes with narrow objects such as poles and trees (referred to as pole side impacts) can be particularly dangerous because the point of impact is often very close to the vehicle occupant(s).

The proposal aims to improve the safety of vehicle occupants by regulating the pole side impact performance of light passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles through the Australian Design Rules (the national standards which apply to all new vehicles).

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.

Comments on the proposal should be sent to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development submissions inbox prior to 31 July 2015.

The RIS has been certified by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and was subject to an early assessment by the OBPR.