The NSW Business Chamber has released its annual Red Tape Survey. The survey of almost 1,000 NSW businesses, estimates there are $10 billion in compliance costs each year, with the annual cost of complying with government regulatory requirements reported as $58,000 for the average respondent.

Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said while it isn’t reasonable to remove all regulatory compliance cost on business there is a need to look at how government can reduce complexity, duplication and unnecessary red tape. 

Key findings from the 2016 Red Tape Survey include: 
  • On average, respondents noted they were spending 14 hours per week complying with government regulation.
  • Industrial relations and tax compliance are the most complex areas for business.
  • Record keeping and understanding/finding information about obligations are relatively more complex than in 2014.
  • Smaller businesses are less pessimistic about the burden of red tape relative to larger businesses, but smaller businesses find it harder to find information and understand their regulatory obligations.
The recent NSW Audit Office report has highlighted, there is no effective central oversight to ensure the principles of better regulation are being applied within government and accordingly a new red tape reduction framework is required,” said Chris Lamont. 

Respondents to the survey said that the Department of Planning and Environment was the most complex agency to deal with, and Service NSW the least complex. SafeWork NSW was the agency with the greatest positive improvement on this measure. 

The NSW Business Chamber’s 5 point action plan to reduce red tape: 
  1. Make information on regulatory obligations across Government more open and accessible 
  2. Commit to new targets to reduce the impact and stock of regulation, including the regulatory burden associated with planning and local government 
  3. Take a strategic approach to identifying red tape burden reduction opportunities for both new and existing businesses 
  4. Create a coordination point for a whole-of-government approach to regulatory reform 
  5. Ensure that regulation is effective and proportional to risks faced by the community when compared with alternative approaches that could be taken 
“Pleasingly the survey noted some improvement in form completion and in applying for regulatory approvals, but the survey highlighted record keeping and understanding obligations as ongoing areas of concern. We need to ensure regulation is effective and efficient for business and consumers.” said Chris Lamont