What is the federal government's 'deregulation agenda'?

Find out about the plan that promises to save $1.6 billion for employers

What is the federal government's 'deregulation agenda'?

In late March, the federal government announced that it would be “cutting more red tape” as it launched the Deregulation Agenda’s Budget 2022-23 package. It consistently says that the proposal is for the benefit of Australian businesses, but what exactly does this mean for employers?

The government’s aim for the agenda is for businesses to “keep more of what they earn,” as it said the package will deliver “$1.6 billion in savings over four years” to make it “easier for Australian businesses to operate.”

Expenses, such as compliance costs, would be cut as around 1,200 fuel and alcohol businesses are expected to save close to $20 million each year.

“We’ve consulted widely with industry leaders and business owners across Australia to better understand the unnecessary layers that burden Australia businesses,” Minister Assisting the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said.

The federal government’s Deregulation Agenda Measures

According to a media release, this is the general list of the government’s priorities for the package that would be put in place:

  • Significant deregulation benefits to fuel and alcohol producers, importers, and distributors through streamlining the administration of fuel and alcohol excise and excise-equivalent customs goods;
  • Progress a national approach to modernise the execution of common legal documents;
  • Streamline fees associated with Australia’s Business Registers, as company registration and lifecycle management moves to the modernised platform;
  • From 1 July 2022, make permanent the temporary tariff concession that is currently in place for certain medical and hygiene products to treat, diagnose or prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  • Reduce regulatory burden for industry in the environmental assessment process through the national rollout of the Digital Environmental Assessments Program, supported by a National Biodiversity Data Repository.
  • Simplify the compliance and assurance activities for the Emissions Reduction Fund and the Renewable Energy Target to reduce manual compliance reporting.
  • Develop a new Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting application to enable businesses to submit surveys on business indicators directly through their accounting software.
  • Enhance the digital capability of Australia’s offshore oil and gas regulator and titles administrator.
  • Reduce the regulatory burden for business arising from compliance with mandatory safety and information standards under Australian Consumer Law.

According to the federal government, these measures aim to lift productivity, boost employment and support Australia’s economic recovery. An emphasis on the benefits for fuel and alcohol producers, importers and distributors has also been made, as the government said they had listened to their “frustrations” against “cumbersome and unnecessary processes.”

“We’ve listened to their frustrations – we’re fixing long-standing tax administration burdens faced by our fuel refiners and distributors,” Morton said.

Small businesses could also expect relief as the package simplifies licensing arrangements and removes overlapping tax administration at the border. The government has also committed to implementing “better aligning” excise payments with other taxes paid by them.

“For too long, businesses have had to navigate inefficient administrative and compliance requirements,” Morton said.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we’re determined to make big improvements to their operations.”

“We want to give Australian businesses the best environment possible so they can operate with ease, invest and grow with certainty,” Morton added.

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