Rationalising regulation: helping the economy recover from the corona crisis
Australia’s anachronistic, inconsistent and excessive regulatory landscape is an area of immense potential for growth-enhancing economic reforms. The regulatory constraints outlined in this paper are impeding business growth and their removal or adjustment would yield large economic benefits. The relaxation of a range of restrictions to respond to the pandemic—e.g. around supermarket delivery times and the availability of liquor for takeaway—suggests governments can move quickly to eliminate or improve regulations.
Calls for regulatory reform are often mischaracterised as ideologically-driven efforts to completely remove regulation. This paper does not oppose regulation on principle. Some regulation is necessary to protect public health and safety and to address market failures. But it needs to be well-designed and achieve its objectives with the lowest costs of compliance to the community.
This paper considers regulations across a wide range of sectors, including the construction, agricultural, pharmaceutical, retail trade, mining, hospitality and tourism, and childcare sectors.
The paper is divided into three sections:
- Section 2 outlines Australia’s current regulatory landscape with an emphasis on its ranking relative to other comparable economies
- Section 3 investigates regulatory barriers shared by distinct sub-sectors of the Australian economy
- Section 4 delves more deeply into industry-specific regulatory issues