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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6802


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister) (11:19): I thank the member for Bass for that very entertaining and realistic assessment of the legacy that those opposite left us when it came to regulation. He is right. They left us 21,000 additional regulations. He referred to regulatory impact statements. Those opposite promised that there would be regulatory impact statements for major legislative initiatives. Would the members opposite believe that, when it came to the carbon tax, the mining tax, changes to the Fair Work Act, the NBN and the Future of Financial Advice, each of those legislative initiatives was exempt from a regulatory impact statement process? Those opposite have no idea as to the true impact and cost on stakeholders of those thousands of new regulations that they introduced by way of the heavy hand of government.

We want to be very different from that. We have already had our first repeal day, where we were successful in getting rid of more than 10,000 additional regulations and redundant pieces of legislation. The savings to the Australian taxpayer and to industry is more than $700 million. We are not finished. I thank the members for Bass Hindmarsh, Deakin, Wright, Aston and Herbert for their incredibly hard work in putting ideas on the table for cutting red and green tape across the economy. One of the real areas in which we have been successful has been environmental approvals. The Minister for the Environment has given approval for more than $500 billion worth of projects in the just less than nine months that we have been in office, and we have moved to one-stop shop environmental approvals.

The member for Bass asked an important question about the consolidation of agencies in this budget. I am very pleased to report that, as a result of measures in this budget, hundreds of millions of dollars will be saved to the taxpayer by unwinding the layer upon layer of bureaucracy that currently exists. In fact, the Commission of Audit found that the Commonwealth government had about 1,000 statutory and non-statutory bodies within its remit. What we have said is we are going to get rid of some of these bodies. Let me tell you the names of some of these bodies we are going get rid of. We are going to get rid of the Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula. We are going to get rid of the Social Inclusion Board and the High Speed Rail Advisory Group. The process is well underway for merging AusAID with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Of course, when we are providing support for good governance, health, education and infrastructure in our region, it needs to be linked with our diplomats. It is just a common-sense idea where we will save a huge amount of money. We are merging the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The functions of Health Workforce Australia, General Practice Education and Training Ltd and the Australian National Preventive Health Agency will go into the Department of Health. The back office functions for the National Archives, the National Gallery, the National Museum, the National Library and the National Portrait Gallery are all going to be merged because that brings savings to the taxpayer.

I can go on. We are merging five civilian merit review tribunals into a single organisation—so the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Classification Review Board, the Migration Review Tribunal, the Refugee Review Tribunal and the Social Security Appeals Tribunal will come together—not to mention the very busy privatisation agenda that we have currently underway with Medibank Private, and we have announced scoping studies into the sale of Defence Housing Australia, the Royal Australian Mint, Australian Hearing and the registry function of ASIC. It is very important to understand what the government should be doing and what the private sector should be doing and having a proper delineation of responsibilities so in the end we can provide better service to the taxpayer at less cost.