Overall Australia continues to have sound regulatory management practices in place. Recent announcements have continued Australia’s deregulation approach that has largely been in place in one guise or another since 2013.

Australia updated its Best Practice Consultation guidance note to help ministries better prepare to engage with stakeholders, as well as to understand the role that the oversight body plays. Notwithstanding these changes, Australia would benefit from an increased focus on stakeholder engagement prior to a regulatory decision having been made, especially with regards to subordinate regulation.

Outcomes from a confidential review into the functioning of the oversight body resulted in a simplified regulatory impact assessment (RIA) process by replacing four types of regulation impact statement with one. It removed the requirement to have regulatory costs formally agreed with the oversight body. It also changed the levels of assessment that the oversight body provides on individual regulatory proposals.

One important change to Australia’s RIA requirements was that third-party reviews are now subject to scrutiny from the oversight body when relied upon by proposing ministries. Post-implementation reviews (PIRs) are generally required where proposals have avoided ex ante scrutiny during their initial development. In practice, Australia’s RIA scope has ensured that exemptions from RIA are granted exceedingly sparingly. It will be important to maintain this key tenet of the Australian system – even in the face of recent rapid decision making – and continue to ensure that exemptions are only triggered for genuine unforeseen emergencies. The timing of PIRs could be improved to ensure that data collection and monitoring impacts are immediately put in place to establish a baseline for the eventual evaluation. In time consideration could be given to overseeing more general reviews of regulations such as those conducted under automatic review clauses and sunsetting provisions as part of closing the regulatory loop.

The Regulatory Policy Branch was transferred from the Department of Jobs and Small Business to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as part of a series of organisational changes completed in January 2020. It has been entrusted with new responsibilities such as ensuring that agencies identify and drive relevant regulatory reforms, and an officer-level interdepartmental process has been set up to promote better regulatory practices and culture. The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) is also located at the centre of government and reviews about 1 500 policy proposals every year. OBPR is developing a bespoke IT system for RIA aimed at improving workload management related to overall RIA scrutiny as well as the quality of impact analysis advice. In addition to standard consultation processes related to RIA, OBPR meets with stakeholders on a regular basis to gather feedback on RIA processes as well as on policy areas facing challenges in bringing together high-quality evidence or analysis.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2021

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at