8 January 2015
On 26 August 2014, the Trade and Investment Minister signed the First Protocol with Ministers from the eleven other parties to the agreement, at the ASEAN Economic Ministers – Closer Economic Relations Trade Ministers Meeting in Burma.
The First Protocol amends the Agreement establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) to remove regulatory impediments that have been identified as hindering business use of the Agreement, it will reduce the information requirements imposed on business when completing certificates of origin, simplify the presentation of the Agreement’s Rules of Origin, and provide for the use of HS 2012 nomenclature.
The change is expected to reduce compliance costs for Australian businesses making use of AANZFTA to import or export goods, and will not introduce any new requirements or administrative burdens on business, with any initial transitional costs expected to be minimal.
The change updates the existing FTA to reflect modern business practices thereby helping to ensure that the Agreement remains commercially relevant, and further secures Australia’s competiveness in key markets.
The implementation of the First Protocol will require an amendment of the Customs (ASEAN-Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Rules of Origin) Regulation 2009.
The RIS prepared and certified by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.
The RIS estimated the average annual regulatory cost saving at $0.64 million per annum. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost saving.
6 January 2015
On 16 December 2014, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) released a consultation Regulation Impact Statement for the risk management of hydrocyanic acid in apricot kernels and other foods.
Consumption of raw apricot kernels poses an acute public health and safety risk for consumers due to the risk of cyanide poisoning (from the release of hydrocyanic acid) which can lead to death. The Consultation RIS examines whether measures can be put in place to manage future potential public health and safety issues.
The consultation RIS considers five options for addressing the problem, ranging from maintaining the status quo, though to labelling options, and banning the sale of some raw apricot kernels.
FSANZ undertook targeted consultation with industry and food enforcement agencies in 2012 and 2013. This work has informed the development of the options explored in this Consultation RIS as well as the analysis of the impacts of each option.
FSANZ will accept submissions on this proposal until 10 February 2015.
The consultation RIS has been prepared by FSANZ, and assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.
22 December 2014
On 14 October 2014, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry jointly announced the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. The Agenda seeks to strengthen Australia’s competitiveness, targeting job creation and higher living standards. One of the initiatives to be implemented over the next 18 months is the adoption of international standards and risk assessments for certain products.
Building on the Government’s deregulation agenda, the proposal seeks that regulators should not impose additional requirements beyond those already applied under trusted international regulation, unless it can be demonstrated there is good reason to do so. The proposal requires departments and agencies to review existing regulation against this principle.
The proposal has been assessed by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) as likely to have a substantial impact on the economy with significant impacts on competition. The RIS explored two alternatives to this proposal – maintaining the status quo, and mandating the adoption of international standards and risk assessments without further review.
A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) has been prepared by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and was subject to an early assessment by the OBPR.
To ensure a thorough review of all regulations, ministers will write to regulators in their portfolio and key business and other stakeholders seeking their views on each of their standards and risk assessment processes against this principle. Members of the public are invited to submit examples of unnecessary divergence from international standards on the Government’s Cutting Red Tape website.
4 December 2014
On 11 September 2014, the Minister for Industry announced that the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will expand the delegation for registered training providers (RTOs) to make decisions about changing the scope of their registration.
The new approach will reduce red tape for highly compliant RTOs, by addressing the need for training providers to seek approval from ASQA before they offer new courses or make changes to the courses they are already delivering.
This will be achieved through ASQA inviting the most highly compliant RTOs to receive a delegation, under section 226 of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, which will enable them to manage their own scope without the need to apply to ASQA for changes. There will be no legislative changes to the NVETR Act or associated standards.
The change is expected to reduce the compliance costs for those RTOs who no longer need to prepare change of scope applications, reduces their delay costs from waiting for approvals, and avoids the need for them to pay application fees. However, higher risk providers, including new market entrants, will continue to face these costs. There is also likely to be a saving to the ASQA through no longer processing applications from low risk providers.
The revised regulation has been assessed as likely to have a measurable but contained impact on a sector of the economy with minor impacts on competition.
The RIS prepared and certified by the Department of Industry, wasassessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation, with the RIS also being consistent with best practice.
The RIS estimated the average annual regulatory cost saving at $3.32 million per annum. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost saving.
4 December 2014
On 29 October 2014, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approved a variation to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) to provide for maximum levels (ML) for tutin in honey and comb 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 (of 2 mg/kg and 0.1 mg/kg, respectively) were adopted into the Code while further research and evaluation was conducted. The temporary MLs were due to expire on 31 March 2015.
The variation to the Code reduces to 0.7 mg/kg and makes permanent the ML of tutin in honey. This ML 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 new MLs 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.
For comb honey, the new ML has also been set at 0.7 mg/kg. For comb honey producers, the new ML does not impose any change on current industry practices since compliance with the existing New Zealand Tutin Standard for comb honey will ensure compliance with the standards in the Code.
A Council of Australian Governments Decision RIS has been prepared by FSANZ, and assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.
28 November 2014
On 27 April 2011, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) announced changes to existing management arrangements in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, aimed at providing stronger protection for Australian Sea Lions. These changes included additional closures of fishing areas and new monitoring arrangements.
A regulation impact statement (RIS) – assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) – was required to inform the decision to change the management arrangements. A draft RIS was submitted prior to the implementation of the regulation, however due to the urgent requirement of the regulation, adequate consultation was unable to be completed before the action was taken. The RIS was deemed to be inadequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation and AFMA was assessed as non-compliant under the then Government’s RIS requirements. As a result, a Post implementation Review (PIR) has been undertaken by AFMA in line with the Government’s best practice regulation requirements.
The PIR found that the measures taken in 2011 were appropriate and continue to be necessary in order for AFMA to pursue its legislative objectives under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.
The PIR has been assessed as compliant by the OBPR.
28 November 2014
On 22 October 2014, the Minister for Communications introduced legislation to make the registration period for numbers on the Do Not Call Register indefinite. The proposal was strongly supported by consumers and will enable them to avoid having to periodically re-register their telephone and fax numbers.
The proposal has been assessed as likely to have a measurable but contained impact on the economy with minor impacts on competition.
A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Department of Communications under the March 2014 Australian Government Guide to Regulation and has beenassessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.
The OBPR notes that the process followed by the Department of Communications and the level of analysis contained in the RIS was consistent with best practice.
The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost saving at $3.48 million per annum. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost saving.
25 November 2014
The Department of Health has completed a Post-implementation Review (PIR) on the 2010 decision to renew the pharmacy location rules. These rules prescribe location-based criteria that must be satisfied in order to establish a new pharmacy or relocate an existing pharmacy.
A RIS was required to be prepared for the renewal or retention of pharmacy location rules as these could entail a restriction on competition, and were assessed by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) as likely to have a measurable impact on the economy. Because an adequate RIS was not prepared at the decision-making stage, a PIR was required to be prepared within 1-2 years of the implementation of the decision to renew the rules.
The review noted that the costs of extending the location rules include the potential for higher cost of non-subsidised medicines; possibly reduced geographical access to pharmacies in urban areas; and an administrative impost for pharmacists who want to relocate or expand (estimated at $1 million per year). However it found that these costs were outweighed by the benefits of the rules, which maintain a reasonably well-distributed geographical spread of pharmacies in Australia, including (and especially) in rural and remote areas. The review also noted that targeted easing of the rules could provide for greater benefits to the community.
The PIR was completed by the Department of Health in October 2014 and was assessed as adequate by the OBPR.
24 November 2014
On 7 November 2014, the Education Council released a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) containing a number of proposed changes to the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010, the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011, and to associated guidance material, all of which are part of the National Quality Framework (NQF).
The Education Council has highlighted potential changes in a number of areas. These include changes to the regulation of Family Day Care services and Outside School Hours Care, as well as the possibility of expanding the scope of services regulated under the NQF.
The COAG RIS for consultation was prepared for the Education Council and has been approved by the Office of Best Practice Regulation. It can be downloaded from the NQF consultation website.
The consultation period closes on 16 January 2015.
13 November 2014
On 26 September 2014, the COAG Industry and Skills Council endorsed new standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and VET regulators, and noted that there was a requirement for further development of qualification requirements for teachers delivering the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. The draft standards were subsequently amended to strengthen requirements for the delivery of this qualification, and the Commonwealth Minister for Industry made the new standards on 20 October 2014 (Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 and Standards for VET Regulators 2015). The new standards strengthen requirements for aspects of the delivery of training and assessment, including responsibility for training delivered by a third party, and governance requirements for RTOs; clarify continuing requirements, including requirements for engagement with industry and validation of assessment; and change the Regulator Standards to facilitate a more risk-based approach to regulating RTOs.
In the context of broader national VET reforms, the new standards contribute to addressing employer and other concerns with inconsistency in the relevance and quality of vocational education and training. Specific areas being targeted are the industry-relevance of the development and delivery of training, inadequate skills and knowledge of some VET trainers and assessors, insufficient information for consumers, the complexity of the standards and inadequate enforcement arrangements for poor quality providers. The Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) identified likely transition costs for the sector of $32.6 million, but ongoing savings of around $5 million a year. Benefits for trainees and employers are also anticipated.
The Australian Government Department of Industry’s VET Reform Taskforce prepared a decision‑making RIS that was provided to the COAG Industry and Skills Council to inform the decision. The RIS was assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.
A consultation RIS was previously prepared by the former Office of the National Skills Standards Council and released for public consultation on 12 March 2013.