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.


10 July 2014

Repeal of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program – Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Industry

On 15 May 2014, the Minister for Industry and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister announced the repeal of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program.

The original EEO program required all entities with energy use of greater than 0.5 petajoules (PJ) per year to: audit their energy use; identify opportunities to increase energy efficiency; and provide reports to the government and public.  The program was later extended to electricity generators and new developments and expansion projects.

The Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) prepared by the Department of Industry notes the EEO program has provided some benefits. These include the implementation of more energy efficient processes in some companies. However, the RIS notes that the rationale for the program is no longer the same since it commenced in 2006. Rising energy prices have driven companies to better consider energy use and the program has successfully embedded energy management practices in many companies.

In addition, the RIS notes that the majority of the benefits from the program may accrue early in the assessment process but fall over time after more energy efficiency processes are implemented. In the context of falling benefits, the RIS examines the cost effectiveness of continuing the program, particularly in light of the Government’s strong commitment to removing the red-tape burden on businesses. The RIS compares repealing the scheme to retaining the current regulatory scheme as well as an option to alter the current scheme to be more streamlined, and concludes that repealing the EEO is the preferred option.

The RIS estimates that repealing the scheme will save businesses around $17 million annually in compliance costs. The reduction in compliance cost estimates mostly result from removing the administration burden placed on affected businesses to produce and report on energy efficiency assessment plans.

A RIS was prepared by the Department of Industry and assessed as complaint with the Australian Government Guide to Regulation and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR).


10 July 2014

National Licensing of Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Occupations – COAG Decision RIS – Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations

On 13 December 2013 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decided not to pursue the proposed National Occupational Licensing Scheme reform.

The National Licensing of Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Occupations Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) examines the impact of replacing the current diverse state and territory licensing of the refrigeration and air-conditioning occupational area with a proposed national licensing approach. It considers the impact that each option would have on industry, consumers and government and is informed by stakeholder feedback on the options outlined in the Consultation RIS, which was released on 13 August 2012. It acknowledges that the status quo is the default option.

A Decision RIS was prepared by the then Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation. The Decision RIS was published on the NOLA website in July 2013 as part of the consultation process prior to the decision on the reform.