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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3276


Ms O'DWYER (Higgins) (18:33): I am delighted to be speak during this consideration-in-detail stage of the debate on the Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014 and related legislation. At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and his committee on deregulation for the good work they have done in introducing these bills into the parliament, because it is important in this place that we reduce redundant and unnecessary red tape and regulation. And at this point this is a down payment—10,000 pieces, 50,000 pages worth. Those on the other side ask why this is important—in fact, they belittle it. It is important because individuals, business and not-for-profits are all being strangled by unnecessary compliance costs and opportunity costs. Today we have the opportunity to make a down payment on reducing some of that—about $700 million in savings on compliance costs when you include the single biggest component of that, which is the reform of the future of financial advice, at about $198 million.

It is a significant thing we are doing in the parliament today. But listening to the member for Isaacs, you would not necessarily think that to be so. A number of times he stood up in the parliament and called this bill a 'routine piece of housekeeping'. He has gone on to say that it is completely 'unremarkable' and 'largely clerical', and he has talked about obsolete regulation not being all that important. Well, I have done a bit of digging on what the member for Isaacs said previously when it came to getting rid of redundant regulations. In the press release with Penny Wong on 24 July 2013 he said that it was important to reduce red tape and regulation. In fact, he talks about their legislation and says:

Reducing red tape and removing redundant laws, particularly in the customs portfolio, improves the efficiency of businesses engaged in importing and exporting and makes things simpler for all Australians.

That is a direct quote. But he seems to have forgotten this in his commentary in the House. He seems to have something of a faulty memory, as so many of those opposite do. The previous minister, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Penny Wong, also talked about the importance of removing red tape and regulation. She said:

By removing unnecessary regulations, we are reducing the burden on business and helping to lift business efficiency and productivity.

Well, I ask the question: why is it then that those opposite do not want to see it done, and done more effectively, under our watch?

You have to understand what we inherited from the previous government. I have some insight into this, because I was part of the coalition's deregulation task force, along with Senator Arthur Sinodinos and Senator David Bushby. In talking to business and not-for-profit organisations we found that during the time of the previous government, instead of living by their statement that they would have a 'one in, one out' approach to regulation, they introduced, at a conservative estimate, more than 21,000 pieces of new regulation. That is why it is so important that we not waste any time in getting on with the task of actually making it easier for business—particularly small business—to get on and invest in their business, to be able to grow jobs, and to be able to improve our economy and our nation. That is what we are doing here today. This is the first step in what will be a long journey. I am very confident that the parliamentary secretary will not just be coming in here and repealing a billion dollars of red tape and regulation every year. I am confident we will go even beyond this, because this government knows how important it is to enable business to grow jobs and invest in their business, and to be able to spend the time to do that.

There is a lot of detail in these bills that I will not have the opportunity to go through in the 20 seconds I have remaining. However, I would encourage members of the public to look closely at these bills and the benefits they will bring. It will be to the benefit of all Australians that we get rid of redundant and unnecessary red tape and regulation.