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Business Advisory Forum agrees to cut red tape

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Environmental approvals and assessments will be fast-tracked and red tape cut for major development approvals, under reforms discussed at today’s inaugural meeting of the Business Advisory Forum.

We know that red tape is a huge issue for business. For the small business owner who has to spend hours on paperwork or filling out forms, to the big business that has to wait months or even years for project approvals.

Today we started a very productive, direct discussion with business about how best to reduce red tape and reduce the impost on business.

Business leaders, the Gillard Government and state and territory leaders today focused on six reform priorities:

 Environmental approvals and assessments; o The Government has agreed to develop bilateral arrangements with the states to fast-track state assessments and approvals. This means states will be accredited to do certain Commonwealth assessments.

 Major projects; o All levels of government agreed to work towards the creation of taskforces for major projects, so approvals are administered by a single state agency and unnecessary duplication is removed.

 Ending duplication in carbon and energy schemes; o Governments have undertaken to prioritise the completion of a review of policies and programs that are not complementary to the national carbon price and may be ineffective or inefficient.

 Energy pricing; o Forum acknowledged the need to increase competition in energy markets. COAG will discuss bringing forward reviews of state and territory competition in retail electricity and natural gas markets and to

ensure that energy regulation places greater weight on the outcomes for consumer.  Improving development assessments processes;  Best practice approach to risk based regulation.

Participants at the Forum also committed to participate in a ‘Red Tape Challenge’.

Business - particularly small and medium sized enterprises - will identify burdensome, inefficient or duplicative regulations that are impeding productivity and

economic growth. COAG would twice yearly examine the suggestions made by business to ensure that initiatives with merit are addressed promptly.

Participants recognised that significant progress on regulatory and competition reform has been made under COAG’s Seamless National Economy agenda.

However the Forum recognised that a stronger, more coherent compact with business was needed to drive national reform, and agreed on a National Productivity Compact between the Commonwealth, states and territories and business.

Today’s Business Advisory Forum was an important change in the way we address deregulation.

The Forum outcomes will be incorporated into tomorrow’s COAG meeting, where participants will be asked to commit to a new national agenda on deregulation.


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