Victoria’s approach to regulatory reform and regulation scrutiny is based on the foundation principles of ensuring that regulation is necessary and, where it is, that it is:
- effective in achieving its objectives; and
- efficient in imposing minimal burdens on individuals, businesses and the community.
In 2015, the Victorian Government established the Commissioner for Better Regulation, an independent statutory appointment, to lead this work and deliver improvements in regulation scrutiny and regulator performance. In 2018, the Commissioner for Better Regulation was also appointed as the Red Tape Commissioner. The role of the Commissioner is to support regulators and government agencies to improve regulatory practice and performance in the following ways:
- The Commissioner has a statutory role to assess the adequacy of regulatory impact statements (RISs), which analyse the impacts of proposed regulations and are required for significant regulations that impose significant burdens on businesses. The approach to assessing RISs is based on early engagement and collaborative work with departments and regulators, and has proved successful in improving the quality of RISs.
- The Commissioner works with businesses to identify ways to reduce regulatory burden and improve regulations. Better Regulation Victoria (BRV) operates a Red Tape Hotline, which businesses can contact to identify any issues.
- The Commissioner convenes a forum of Victorian regulators, which meets monthly, to promote the sharing of best practice across Victoria’s regulators. The forum has been particularly helpful for regulators to share their responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commissioner also undertakes reviews at the request of the Treasurer and/or the Minister for Regulatory Reform. Reviews include:
- A review of the Earth Resources Regulator and regulation of mines and quarries. The Department has been implementing the recommendations, in consultation with BRV and industry.
- A review of Victoria’s building and planning approval systems. Recommendations from this review are now being implemented to reduce delays and costs. Overall, these improvements will reduce planning permit approval times by one third.
- A joint initiative with Small Businesses Victoria to review the regulatory burden experienced by small retail businesses in the permit approvals process in Councils. In response to this review, there has been a 70 per cent reduction in approval timeframes for small business permits since 2017.
- The Commissioner is currently chairing a comprehensive review of Victoria’s building system, acting on a key recommendation of the Cladding Taskforce.
Reviews undertaken by the Commissioner focus on practical and implementable recommendations and usually involve early initiatives to be implemented while the review process is underway. The Commissioner also remains involved in implementation and shares best practices across regulators.
Victoria’s new approach to regulatory reform has been delivering tangible and practical improvements to regulation and regulator practice, boosting productivity and efficiency in the Victorian economy.