Billions in red tape.

At this time each year the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland releases its annual survey on government red tape. On the release of last year’s figures there was an outcry from business when it was revealed that the government had enacted 31 bills with over 5,000 pages of new or amended legislation, costing an additional $497 million to comply with it. This represented a 9.4% increase in regulation in that year.

As this brought the total pages of regulation to just under 80,000 it should have been reasonable to assume that the government would find its way clear to leave well enough alone for a while and possibly cut some of this red tape in order to streamline things.

Unfortunately the governments in this country only know one way to cut red tape, and that is lengthwise.

This years report is something we should be outraged about:

Twelve months after the business community outcry over red tape in Queensland, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has revealed that the Government has failed to reduce the burden and has added an additional 7,900 pages of new and amended legislation.

CCIQ’s latest estimates show state-based red tape now costs the Queensland economy $6.5 billion per year. This is an increase of $780 million since last year.

Queensland has the highest level of regulation compared to any other state in Australia.

Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland President David Goodwin said the latest results show that the Queensland Government has no real commitment to reducing the cost and burden of doing business in Queensland.

“Every dollar spent on complying with regulation is a dollar not spent on growing Queensland businesses and employing more Queenslanders,” Mr. Goodwin said.

This is only the state based cost, we have a federal government which adds another layer of costs on top of this and a host of local authorities all eager to put more rules in place that they can extract fees from. While Goodwin makes the point of dollars, “not spent on growing Queensland businesses and employing more Queenslanders,” there is another aspect to this.

Every dollar spent by business on compliance with the vast array of regulations is a dollar they have to increase their prices by in order to remain profitable. In fact it is more than just that dollar as it is reasonable to accept that as profit margins are based on the margin required to make a reasonable profit on the total costs of the enterprise, consumers are paying that as well subject to competitive pressures..

Bligh insisted that these regulations are very important in order to protect consumers. On these figures the government is probably doing more to harm them. Apart from the cost of massive regulation and compliance with it, millions more are diverted to pay for the extra public servants needed to inflict these regulations. This in turn diverts workers from the productive sector where they would be gainfully employed in the creation of products and services, into the fiscal black hole of the public sector.

The criminal code exists to deal with such matters as theft, fraud, misrepresentation, and so on. There is no need to make another set of rules just to bring business to heel.

13 thoughts on “Billions in red tape.

  1. Pingback: Article Recommendation: Billions in red tape by Jim Fryar « Tim R

  2. There seems to be a mixture of both of them. The summary of the item I linked to states the following:

    Since the release of CCIQ’s Blueprint for Fighting Queensland’s Over-Regulation in 2009 the Queensland Government has:

    Introduced 68 new acts of parliament
    Passed 7,928 pages of new or amended legislation
    Passed 439 regulations and subordinate legislation.

    This represents an increase of more than 13 per cent in regulatory burden impacting on Qld businesses and the community during the 2009-10 year.

  3. Was the 7,928 pages read out in parliament before being voted on? There should be a requirement that all proposed legislation be read aloud in parliament before it is voted on.

  4. We also need mandatory sunset clauses for legislation passed with less than a 75% super majority and a citizens initiated means of legislative repeal.

  5. It’s an old complaint- a Latin commenter once said (translated) “Where other lands suffer from locusts, we have laws.”

  6. Whatever happened to sunset clauses?

    They were one of our most effective policy points in the 70s. Some were even enacted but not with our requirement for a complete cost benefit analysis to be done before such legislation could be extended beyond the expiry date.

    As far as I am aware there is no reading of the bills, and they are generally assessed by the members, by looking at who proposed them and deciding yes or no on the basis of whether it is one of theirs or the other mobs.Perhaps if we can get such a requirement up, it could be made retrospective so that the entire 87,794 pages of existing legislation would have to be read out before any more is passed. This would paralyse the process for a long time.

    Alternatively 8,000 pages is the equivalent of 6-7 readings of “Atlas Shrugged.” If this were done then a hell of a lot might get repealed. 🙂

  7. If you put the cursor over Andrew Bolt you will see, “not libertarian but not bad.” Menzies House points out “… centre right with some libertarians.”

  8. Apparently you can’t read Ben. It doesn’t really surprise me actually. If you glance at the top of the Menzies House webpage you’ll notice the large writing at the top:

    Australia’s leading online community for conservative, centre-right and libertarian thinkers

    Read as: conservatives don’t own Menzies House.

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