National Red Tape Survey - $10,000 A Year and 5 Hours Per Week Per Business
Statement by Peter Anderson, Chief Executive, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry—Australia’s peak employer group—is taking a leadership position today in the fight against red tape with the release of a new national survey that will give government an eye-opening insight into how regulation impacts business on the ground.
Earlier this year, the opening COAG Business Advisory Forum agreed that government and business needed to do more to combat productivity-sapping red tape, so ACCI is launching a dedicated National Red Tape Survey to help better understand the issue.
Essentially, to help the reform process, ACCI is putting some solid feedback on the table.
”We’re launching a new national survey to measures how heavily regulation is impacting on business. We asked business all over the country: How much time do you spend on regulations, how much money does it cost you, is it holding your business back, is it stopping you from hiring?”
“To coin a phrase from our politicians, we want to end the blame game, and put some solid evidence on the table as a starting point for discussion that can bring about real reform. Government and business both want to reduce red tape, and we believe that this survey will help us take a step forward.”
The National Red Tape Survey has been prepared with the support of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, as well as key industry associations.
In all, 870 businesses were surveyed over the past month, across every state and territory.
And the results are eye-opening:
- 44% of businesses spend between 1 and 5 hours a week complying with government (federal, state or local) regulatory requirements (filling out forms, applying for permits, reporting business activity);
- 72% of businesses say the time they’re spending on red tape has increased in the last two years;
- 42.2% estimate they spent more than $10,000 complying with government regulations last year;
- 59.7% say red tape has a moderate to major impact on their business;
- 54.3% say that complying with government regulations has prevented them making changes to grow or expand their business.
The direct feedback from business tells us that the most regulated areas are:
- Workplace health and safety;
- Conditions of employment; and
- Employing workers.
The feedback from business is that much of the burden can be alleviated by better communication.
- 64.9 of business people say that the burden would be reduced if communications about how to comply with regulations improved;
- 61.4% believe we need less regulations;
- 61.0% believe more consultation with business in developing regulations would help.
Relieving the red tape burden is a shared objective between the private sector and governments at local, state and national levels. Translating that objective into practice has largely eluded governments across the federation, notwithstanding the best of intention and improved consultation processes such as the recently created COAG Business Advisory Forum. The burden of red tape is costing business more resulting in negative or stagnant productivity growth. Less red tape allows business to be flexible, innovative and adaptive to changing economic conditions.
The survey also reflects ACCI’s commitment to an evidence-based approach to policy development and government decision-making.
ACCI will encourage governments to use this survey to drive improved policy outcomes. The results will also be presented to the next meeting of the COAG Business Advisory Forum on which ACCI and chambers are represented.