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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3162


Mr HOGAN (Page) (11:08): I rise to speak in support of Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014 and against the amendment proposed by the Manager of Opposition Business. I will certainly be taking up the challenge that was made by some previous opposition speakers, to say how this bill will improve the life or the business of any enterprise or business. I will certainly be doing that. I also want to make the point that while some of these bills may not do much in isolation, on the whole they do a lot. This is day one, and there will be more. In the coming days we have further repeal day bills, and they are going to make a big difference.

Firstly, I want to say why this is important, and give some statistics showing why this is a very important day in our parliament. We know that bad regulation and too much regulation hurts productivity, deters investment and innovation, and costs jobs. In the five years from mid-2007 Australia's multifactor productivity declined by nearly three per cent. In talks we had with business, and around the country, the common thing that came back from businesses and organisations was that a big part of that is too much regulation.

In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the productivity growth of 51 countries. Australia came in second-last, ahead of Botswana. It is very important that we look at this and talk to people around our country about why they think this is the case. Again, they keep telling us the reason is too much red tape. In 2013 Australia ranked 21st in the Global Competitiveness Index, slipping six places. We are slipping—

Dr Leigh: I wonder if the honourable member might yield to a question under standing order 66A?

Mr HOGAN: I thank the member, but I will decline, because I want to answer some questions that were asked earlier by the opposite side and my time is limited.

We have falling productivity, we are slipping in competitiveness indexes, and we keep getting told by businesses and institutions that the reason for this is red tape. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in their 2012 National Red Tape Survey, found that 44 per cent of businesses spend between one and five hours a week complying with government regulatory requirements such as filling out forms and permits, or reporting business activity. In addition, 72 per cent of businesses said the time they are spending on red tape has increased in the last two years. Further to this, 54 per cent say that complying with government regulations has prevented them making changes, or expanding their business. That is a very telling statistic.

The question has been asked, as to how this repeal day bill will improve the life of businesses or organisations. There are three themes to this bill. One is removing duplication. One is about streamlining onerous and costly processes. The last theme is about having a common sense approach.

Let us go to removing duplication. This is real, because this is what is going to happen because of this bill. Aged care building certification at the federal level will be removed as this merely duplicates requirements at the state level. This will save aged care providers an estimated $3.42 million in compliance savings. With an additional 74,000 aged care places needed over the next 10 years, we need less regulation to provide the incentives for the required investment. So that is one thing, but there are more.

Australian companies that operate in multiple states will be eligible to self-insure under the Commonwealth workers compensation scheme, instead of having to apply separate workers compensation schemes in every state. That is going to save real money and real time. Small businesses will also benefit. Grant and procurement guidelines will be amended so that standard contract terms are applied across agencies' procurements under $200,000. Universities—and there is one in my electorate—will no longer have to submit a Capital Asset Management Surveys, which require information on the size, use, management and maintenance of their assets and spaces. Instead, results from the surveys by the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association will be used, saving Universities an estimated $87,000 a year. This is another real example.

I want to finish up by giving some third party endorsements for this. I have third-party endorsements of our repeal day legislation from the Brotherhood of St Laurence, from the Business Council of Australia, from the Master Grocers Association, and from others. I speak in support of the bill and against the amendment.