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Industry Department attack on business red tape.



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23 February 2006 06/036

INDUSTRY DEPARTMENT ATTACK ON BUSINESS RED TAPE

The Australian Government is ready for a national roll-out of the Industry Department’s Business Cost Calculator, a central plank in its campaign to reduce regulatory red tape for business - big or small.

The ITR Business Cost Calculator is an interactive software package designed to assess the ‘real life’ impact of local, state and federal government policy on business across Australia and it’s already receiving international interest.

The model, which puts a dollar value to working hours spent filling out forms, new or changed licences and altering operations, is set to be adopted nationally following this month’s Council of Australian Governments meeting.

Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who initiated work on the Calculator in 2003, said its potential is highlighted by the fact that government and business organisations from the UK and New Zealand have already sought briefings on it.

“Basically it provides a template, which we anticipate will be used at all levels of Australian government, to calculate in a nuts-and-bolts sort of way the actual impact new or changed legislation or regulation will have on business operators.”

“It brings a new, standardised method for determining business impacts for everything from cabinet submissions to department policy proposals,” he said.

The ITR Business Cost Calculator is a first in Australia and is generally considered more comprehensive than the Dutch model on which it was based.

“This software will take department policy thinkers, across government, beyond the Canberra corridors and into the offices of the businesses whose working lives they are engaging with.”

“It will show in black and white what the cost of every good idea or policy bent will be to the people on the ground who have to make the changes, be it filling out an extra form or putting on extra people.”

“Its simplicity will allow all levels of government to punch in the numbers and get a much clearer idea of just how their policy ideas may impact in the real world of business and industry,” said Mr Macfarlane.

The Business Cost Calculator can be found at www.industry.gov.au/costingmodel CMR06-053