29 January 2016

Government’s Response to the Competition Policy Review

Independent Review – The Treasury

On 24 November 2015, the Government released its response to the Competition Policy Review.

The Government asked Professor Ian Harper and an expert panel to undertake an independent ‘root and branch’ review of competition policy.  The Competition Policy Review Report made 56 recommendations for reforms across three key themes: competition policy, laws and institutions. The Government will implement the majority of the Competition Policy Review’s recommendations.

The Competition Policy Review Report was certified by the Treasury as meeting the requirements of a Regulation Impact Statement. The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) does not assess independent reviews. The Treasury has estimated the average annual regulatory cost saving at $4.7 million from the recommendations that will be implemented. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost saving.


27 January 2016

Regulations for Sweet Potato Marketing Levy

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

On 15 December 2015, as part of revenue measures announced in the Australian Government’s 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the government announced changes to regulations in order to introduce a new sweet potato levy and export charge.

The changes commencing on 1 January 2016 will introduce a statutory marketing levy and export charge of one per cent on the sale price of all sweet potatoes.

The aim of the marketing levy, which has been requested by the peak industry body, the Australian Sweet potato Growers’ Association, is to secure funding for long-term marketing needs and priorities of the industry, including premium positioning and increasing overall consumption.

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

The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost at about $400 per annum. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory burden estimate and associated offset.


27 January 2016

Managing risks associated with lead in the workplace: blood lead levels and exposure standards

COAG Consultation Regulation Impact Statement – Safe Work Australia

On 21 December 2015, Safe Work Australia released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on managing risks associated with lead in the workplace: blood lead levels and exposure standards.

Lead has a wide range of biological effects on people, including on the developing foetus, which are directly related to the concentration of lead in the affected organ systems.

Safe Work Australia is seeking comments on the best way to reduce the potential for adverse health outcomes caused by exposure to lead in the workplace.

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 26 February 2016.


22 January 2016

International Harmonisation of Medicine Ingredient Names

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Health

On 23 November 2015, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), part of the Department of Health, announced its decision to update the Australian approved names of ingredients used on medicine labels and product information to better align with international standards.

The proposed changes address concerns that the names of medicine ingredients currently used in Australia are becoming increasingly out of step with international practice. This has caused potential confusion for Australian consumers and healthcare practitioners who travel overseas. It has also added to ambiguity for practitioners who were trained internationally and are practicing in Australia. There has also been additional work for Australian pharmaceutical businesses who market their products overseas.

To minimise compliance costs, a four year transition period was agreed for medicine ingredient names to be updated on product labels and in product information documents.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the TGA 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 net regulatory cost of making the changes is $0.13m a year. The OBPR has agreed to the estimate.


22 January 2016

Annual Charge Exemption Scheme

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Health

On 1 July 2015, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced changes to the way the exemptions from regulatory charges for therapeutic goods are given.

Sponsors of products on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) are required to pay annual charges to the TGA to allow recovery of the costs of regulating the sector. Under the low value turnover (LVT) exemption scheme, products with low value turnover (defined as equal to or less than 15 times the annual charge that would be otherwise payable for that product) were exempt from annual charges in order to help small businesses to enter the market.

A review undertaken by the TGA found that the main beneficiaries of the LVT scheme were not small businesses. The 20 highest invoiced sponsors accounted for more than 50 per cent of all LVT benefit in 2014‑15. In addition, the administrative costs of complying with the LVT requirements for each product were considerable.

The LVT scheme has now been replaced by an annual charge exemption (ACE) scheme. Products automatically qualify for the exemption once they are entered on to the ARTG, and sponsors will not be invoiced for an annual charge for that product until it generates turnover. The total quantum of costs recovered from the sector will remain the same under the ACE scheme as the LVT. In addition, the ACE scheme is likely to have lower compliance costs than the LVT.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the TGA 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 the average annual regulatory cost saving at $3.0 million. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost saving.


21 January 2016

Approved Arrangements for Livestock Exports

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

On 6 November 2015, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources announced new streamlined arrangements for Australian exporters of live animals.

Under the approved arrangements scheme, exporters with an approved arrangement and a good compliance record will be subject to a streamlined verification process which will result in a reduction in the amount of paperwork and inspection of the animals prior to export. The arrangements will focus more time and resources on those exporters that do not have a good history of meeting the necessary standards.

The welfare of animals in importing countries is governed by the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) which has not been altered under the approved arrangements scheme.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has assessed the RIS prepared by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as compliant with the Government’s RIS requirements and consistent with best practice.

The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost saving at $1.2 million per annum. The OBPR has agreed to the regulatory cost saving.


21 January 2016

Building Code – Drug and Alcohol Testing Provisions

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Employment

On 18 September 2015, the former Minister for Employment announced changes to the Building Code 2013 (‘the Building Code’) requiring contractors to have a comprehensive policy for managing alcohol and other drugs in the workplace. This includes regular, random testing of workers on Commonwealth funded projects that meet the relevant financial thresholds. The Department of Employment has been assessed as compliant with the RIS requirements but not consistent with best practice. The RIS would have been assessed as best practice if it more clearly identified the likely impacts of each of the proposed options.

The RIS estimates the average annual regulatory cost at approximately $13,000. The regulatory cost and associated offset have been agreed with the Office of Best Practice Regulation.


15 January 2016

Safeguard mechanism for the Emissions Reduction Fund

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of the Environment

On 7 October 2015, the Minister for the Environment made the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Rule 2015 establishing the operational elements of the safeguard mechanism for the Emissions Reduction Fund.

The purpose of the safeguard mechanism is to protect taxpayers’ funds by ensuring that emissions reductions purchased by the Government under the Emissions Reduction Fund are not offset by significant increases in emissions above business-as-usual levels elsewhere in the economy.

The safeguard mechanism will commence on 1 July 2016. It is designed to ensure that:

  • business-as-usual economic growth is accommodated;
  • there are a range of emissions management options to assist businesses covered by the safeguard mechanism to meet their safeguard obligations;
  • a sectoral approach is taken to the coverage of grid-connected electricity generators; and
  • new investments are encouraged to perform at industry best practice.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared and certified by the Department of Environment 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 increase regulatory costs by $487,693 per annum in aggregate. The OBPR has agreed to the estimated regulatory costs and the offsets.


15 January 2016

Tailored MySuper

Post-implementation Review – Treasury

On 3 November 2011, the then Government introduced legislation to allow superannuation funds to offer tailored MySuper products to employers with more than 500 employees.

A Regulation Impact Statement was required at the time the decision was made, but was exempted from the best practice regulation requirements by the then Prime Minister. Consequently a post-implementation review (PIR) was required.

A PIR was completed by the Treasury in consultation with its Ministerial Advisory Council and was assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation. The PIR found the proposal imposed an annual regulatory burden of $68,750.


15 January 2016

Fuel Excise Indexation

Regulation Impact Statement – The Treasury

On 23 June 2015 the Government introduced a package of bills that reintroduced bi-annual indexation of fuel duty.

At the time of the 2014-15 Budget announcement the duty rate for most fuels was set at 38.143 cents per litre. This rate was proposed to increase biannually with the Consumer Price Index. In the 2014-15 Budget this was estimated to increase Government revenue by $2.2 billion in the first four years, the cost of which would mostly fall on households and businesses using light commercial vehicles. Fuel used in heavy on-road vehicles and business off-road use will not bear the burden of any fuel excise increases because of these users’ entitlements to fuel tax credits. The RIS notes that due to the inelasticity of demand for most fuel products the effect on demand of an increase in the fuel tax is expected to be minimal.

A Regulation Impact Statement for these changes was prepared and certified by the Treasury. The RIS estimates the changes increase regulatory burden by $5 million per annum. This estimate, as well as a regulatory offset, was agreed with the Office of Best Practice Regulation.