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Australia rated highly on transparent policy making.

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Australia leads the world in the transparency of its policy making processes according to a new research report launched today by the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Chris Bowen.

Policy Transparency: Why Does it Work? Who Does it Best? examines how more transparent policy-making, in particular relating to trade policy, can bring better economic, social and environmental outcomes.

The report was prepared by the Centre for International Economics for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and promotes the case for removing trade barriers in global trade talks.

"Australia stands to gain substantially from reform of global trade, particularly in agriculture where protectionist policies in other countries distort the market and drive down prices for our highly efficient farmers, " Mr Bowen said.

The report argues that Australia is the standout example of transparent policy-making processes, with the Productivity Commission producing high quality, independent and credible economic analysis to help government's make decisions.

"This report highlights that when the public is informed of the true costs and benefits of particular policy decisions, the national interest is best served," Mr Bowen said.

"Australia can use this report and our own experience of reforming the economy, particularly during the 1980s, to argue that removing barriers to trade is in our own interests.

"The report argues that better policy-making processes would make it easier to negotiate a conclusion to the ongoing Doha round of WTO trade negotiations.

"Australia's economic resilience over the past two decades owes a lot to our transparent policy processes and the reforms we have undertaken in that time.

"This report is a useful contribution to the debate about economic policy and how more transparent decision-making can benefit all sectors of an economy."

The report is one of several produced by RIRDC to contribute to trade policy and help Australian farmers get a better deal on the world stage.

It is available at

13 November 2008

Media Release of 13/11/2008