16 June 2015

Radiocommunciations (Interpretation) Determination 2000

Remaking of sunsetting instrument without amendments – Australian Communications and Media Authority

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) remade the Radiocommunications (Interpretation) Determination 2000 and associated standards on 27 February 2015. The Determination contains the definitions of expressions found in specified legislative instruments made by the ACMA.

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

Therefore the Office of Best Practice Regulation notes that a Regulation Impact Statement is not required for the Determination to be remade and there is no change in compliance costs.


16 June 2015

Excise Regulations 1925

Remaking of sunsetting instrument without amendments – Department of the Treasury

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) remade the Excise Regulations 1925 on 26 March 2015.

The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (the Constitution) provides that only the Commonwealth can impose duties of excise. The principal legislative framework for the excise system is contained in the:

  • Excise Tariff Act
  • Excise Act, and
  • Excise Regulations 1925 (Excise Regulations).

The Excise Tariff Act imposes excise duties, identifies excisable goods and the applicable duty rates and indexes duty rates. The Excise Act imposes controls on the manufacture, storage and movement of excisable products, and the payment of duty for excisable products. The Excise Regulations set out provisions in relation to excisable goods such as refunds and remissions, and drawbacks.

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

Therefore the Office of Best Practice Regulation notes that a Regulation Impact Statement is not required for the regulation to be remade.

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


11 June 2015

Extending Unfair Contract Term Protections to Small Businesses

COAG Decision Regulation Impact Statement – Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand

On 13 April 2015 the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs endorsed the extension of the consumer unfair contract term protections for standard form contracts to small businesses.

Previous research has found that unfair terms in standard form contracts can cause detriment to consumers, who often do not fully understand or have the bargaining power to negotiate these terms. Consequently, since 2010 unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts have been regulated by provisions in the Australian Consumer Law and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

The Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) prepared by the Commonwealth Treasury identifies that small businesses may face similar problems as consumers when engaging in contracts. Small businesses may encounter the same lack of scope for negotiation, or may have a lack of time and access to technical or legal advice.

The Decision RIS concludes that the introduction of an Unfair Contract Terms regime for low-value standard form contracts offered to small businesses would result in fairer contract terms and a potentially more efficient distribution of risk.

The Decision RIS prepared on behalf of Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand was assessed as compliant with the COAG RIS requirements by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.


11 June 2015

SBS Advertising Flexibility

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Communications

On 25 March 2015, the Minister for Communications introduced the Communications Legislation Amendment (SBS Advertising Flexibility and Other Measures) Bill 2015.

The Bill contains a range of measures, including a proposal which aims to allow SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) to earn additional advertising revenue. Additional revenue will lessen SBS’s dependence on government funding and could be directed towards producing new content or services in the future.

The proposal will increase SBS’s hourly advertising limit from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, but maintains SBS’s daily advertising cap of 120 minutes. The proposal also clarifies that SBS is allowed to earn revenue through the use of product placement in its programming.

The proposal has been assessed as likely to have a measurable but contained impact on certain defined sectors of the economy.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Department of Communications under the Australian Government 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 the proposal will result in nil regulatory costs. The OBPR has agreed that the proposal does not result in any changes to regulatory costs.


11 June 2015

Telstra Retail Price Controls

Independent Review – Department of Communications

On 18 March 2015, the Minister for Communications announced the repeal of price controls which applied to the retail prices Telstra charges on fixed telephone services.

The retail price controls that apply to Telstra through the Telstra Carrier Charges – Price Control Arrangements, Notification and Disallowance Determination No. 1 of 2005 include price caps and other constraints and restrictions imposed on the price of selected services offered by Telstra at the retail level.

The Australian Government decision was informed by an independent review from the Centre for Independent Economics which concluded that these controls no longer had an impact on the prices Telstra actually charges and were redundant in the competitive retail market for telecommunication services.

The review and related consultations found that Telstra prices for fixed line telephone services have been well below the retail price control levels for many years and that competitive pressure has prevented regionally differentiated pricing.

The independent review was certified by the Department of Communications as meeting the requirements of a Regulation Impact Statement. The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) does not assess independent reviews. The Department of Communications was consistent with best practice in certifying the independent review and seeking agreement to regulatory costs.

The independent review estimates the average annual regulatory saving at $0.246 million. The OBPR has agreed to the costing.


11 June 2015

Energy White Paper

Independent Review – Department of Industry and Science

On 8 April 2015, the Minister for Industry and Science announced the release of the Government’s Energy White Paper that sets a policy framework to give industry and consumers certainty in energy policy.

The objectives of the framework include increasing competition and energy productivity and encouraging investment. The Energy White Paper outlines a number of Government priorities, one of which is to improve national energy productivity by up to 40 per cent by 2030.

The proposal has been assessed by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) as likely to have a widespread impact on the economy.

The Energy White Paper was developed by the Department of Industry and Science.

The Department of Industry and Science has certified the Energy White Paper as meeting the requirements of a Regulation Impact Statement. Under the Australian Government Guide to Regulation, the OBPR does not assess independent reviews.

The OBPR has agreed to nil regulatory costs. The process undertaken by the Department is consistent with best practice.


11 June 2015

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendments (Improving the Comcare Scheme) Bill 2015

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Employment

Worker’s compensation and rehabilitation arrangements for most Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government employees are governed by the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act). This scheme is administered by Comcare.

Since the SRC Act commenced operation, the nature of the risk covered by the Comcare scheme has changed substantially. In addition, a number of concerns have arisen including the incentives created by the scheme for employees to return to work, and the extent to which the services provided are commensurate with the seriousness of the injuries of those receiving the services.

On 25 March 2015 the Government announced reforms to the SRC Act, which included improving return-to-work outcomes for injured workers, and greater focus on early intervention and better health outcomes of injured workers.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has assessed that the process followed by the Department of Employment and the level of analysis contained in the Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) is consistent with best practice. The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost saving at $144, 000 per annum, which has been agreed to by the OBPR.


11 June 2015

Subclass 457 Visa Reforms – Independent Review

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

On 18 March 2015, the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection announced that the Government will act on the recommendations of a recent independent review of the temporary work (skilled) (subclass 457) visa programme for skilled migrants.

The 457 visa programme is a temporary visa programme aimed at meeting skills shortages. It allows businesses to address labour shortages by sponsoring genuinely skilled overseas workers.

The review was conducted by an independent panel which made several recommendations relating to different aspects of the programme including labour market testing, market salary rates and training benchmarks.

The review was certified by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) as meeting the requirements of a Regulation Impact Statement. Under the Australian Government Guide to Regulation, the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) does not assess independent reviews.

The Department estimates the average annual regulatory cost savings to be about $29.9 million, and this has been agreed by the OBPR.


5 June 2015

Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Determination 2003 (No. 2) and Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Determination 2003 (No. 2)

Remaking of sunsetting instrument without amendments – Australian Communications and Media Authority

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) remade two sunsetting legislative instruments without significant amendments on 10 March 2015: the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Determination 2003 (No. 2) and Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Determination 2003 (No. 2).

The Determinations specify the amount of tax payable for different classes of transmitter licences and receiver licences.

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 the instruments are operating efficiently and effectively.

Therefore the Office of Best Practice Regulation notes that a Regulation Impact Statement is not required for these regulations to be remade and there are no compliance cost changes.


5 June 2015

Intense Pulsed Light Sources and Lasers for Cosmetic or Beauty Therapy

COAG Consultation Regulation Impact Statement – Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

On 26 May 2015, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) released a consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) examining options for the use of Intense Pulsed Light sources (IPLs) and Lasers for Cosmetic or Beauty Therapy.

Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) sources are devices used for a range of cosmetic purposes such as removing hair, tattoos, birthmarks, various skin lesions or reducing the visibility of skin pigmentation. Use of lasers or IPLs devices can potentially mask unrecognised or undiagnosed symptoms of skin cancers or result in burns, blistering, scarring and permanent retinal damage.

The Consultation RIS considers options for government intervention to reduce the incidents of serious injury among people receiving commercial treatment including educational awareness, self-regulation by industry/industry accreditation scheme and licensing (or registration) of service providers based on prior qualification and training.

ARPANSA will accept submissions on this proposal up to 31 July 2015.

The Consultation RIS has been prepared by ARPANSA, and assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation under COAG best practice regulation guidelines.