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OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Australia 2010

Towards a Seamless National Economy

image of OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Australia 2010

This review of regulatory reform in Australia comes at the right time to capture the attention of the OECD community. Australia has successfully weathered the worst effects of the current economic crisis. The resilience of the Australian economy, in the face of the deepest and most widespread recession in over fifty years in OECD countries, can in part be attributed to Australia’s current and past regulatory reforms. 

Australia has built strong governance foundations for the development of good regulatory management and competition policies, which are likely to be conducive to economic growth. It aims to reinvigorate a wide agenda of national reforms and to embed past reform achievements in new working arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States. This reform agenda is likely to yield substantial economic benefits for years to come, but demands joint participation and commitment from both the Commonwealth and all States. Maintaining the momentum for reform is a critical challenge, which requires a strategic vision as well as strenuous efforts to promote change and to establish a culture of continuous regulatory improvement.

Australia is one of many OECD countries to request a broad review by the OECD of its regulatory practices and reforms. This review presents a general picture , set within a macroeconomic context, of regulatory achievements and challenges, including regulatory quality at the Commonwealth level as well as across levels of government, competition policy and market openness. It also provides a special focus on Commonwealth-state relationships.

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Regulatory Governance

This chapter is a summary of the background report government Capacity to Assure High Quality Regulation in Australia. It focuses on the regulatory management and reform arrangements that are in place at the federal level of government in Australia, drawing on the good practices embedded in the 2005 OECD Guiding Principles for Regulatory Quality and Performance. The chapter includes an assessment of: the effectiveness of institutional arrangements and tools for promoting regulatory quality; the design of regulatory reform policy; the use of ex ante and ex post impact assessment; systematic transparency and public consultation measures, and; measures to reduce regulatory burdens including the integration of ICT. Australia has well embedded regulatory management arrangements in these areas and a history of successful reform. Future challenges include ensuring that Ministers and their departments embrace a culture of “continuous improvement” in rule making and enforcement.

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