IPART’s Investigation into the Burden of Regulation in NSW and Improving Regulatory Efficiency

It is generally accepted that inefficient regulation can impose unnecessary burdens on business and the economy which in turn can impede competition, productivity, investment and innovation. This has been a focus of a number of Commonwealth and State Government and inter-governmental discussions in recent years.

In recognition of this issue, the NSW Government instructed the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to identify areas of regulation imposing a significant unnecessary regulatory burden, indicate priority areas in which regulatory reforms could provide significant immediate gains, and develop recommendations to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on business and the community.

IPART’s Final Report was released on 5 October 2006, and the Government’s response was issued on 9 November 2006.

The following is a summary of IPART’s key recommendations to make NSW regulation more efficient and the Government’s responses.


Strengthen incentives for compliance with good regulatory process

  • That the Government strengthen the role of the Minister for Regulatory Reform as a strong, accountable champion for the quality of the regulatory process.
  • That the Government establish a ‘Better Regulation Office’ located in a central government agency (such as the Premier’s Department or The Cabinet Office)
  • That Government departments and agencies publicly report against performance indicators for best practice regulatory processes

The Government supports these recommendations and will:

  • task the Minister with responsibility for the Better Regulation Office, and with ensuring red tape is minimised and that effective regulatory processes are followed,
  • establish the Better Regulation Office by January 2007 and fully operation by June 2007, and
  • develop appropriate performance indictors.

Improve consultation

  • That the Government develop a policy on consultation during the development and review of regulation, for adoption by all government departments and agencies, including the use of exposure drafts.
  • That the Government extend the minimum consultation period for Regulatory Impact Statements (RISs) accompanying Regulations and other statutory instruments from 21 to 42 days.

The Government supports these recommendations and will:

  • develop a whole-of-government consultation policy, including guidance on when longer consultation periods are appropriate, and
  • immediately extend the minimum consultation period for RIS’s to 28 days.

Better targeting analysis

  • That the Government undertake regulatory impact assessment for all regulatory proposals that meet certain ‘materiality’ thresholds.

The Government supports these recommendations and will:

  • introduce a new best practice regulatory impact assessment process.

Improve the quality of analysis

  • That the Government update (or replace) the NSW best practice regulation guidelines (Government Regulation: A guide to Best Practice Regulation) to ensure these guidelines are consistent with national developments in regulatory reform. The new guidelines should require:
    • An identification of the problem and an assessment of the desired objectives or outcomes
    • Consideration of the options (regulatory and non-regulatory) for achieving the desired outcomes
    • An assessment of the impacts (costs and benefits) of each option for consumers, business, government and the community
    • Consideration of cumulative and distributional impacts of regulation
    • Consideration of mutual recognition, unilateral recognition or harmonization opportunities
    • Routine consideration of options to simplify, repeal, reform or consolidate existing regulation
    • Identification of relevant regulations in other jurisdictions, and justification for any proposed divergence in NSW
    • A consultation program for consulting with those potentially affected in accordance with the Government’s new consultation policy
    • A minimum 42-day period of consultation for a RIS
    • Arrangements for a post implementation review of all, or targeted sections of, new or amended regulation
    • o A clear implementation, enforcement and review strategy for regulations.
  • That the Government promote through COAG standard national RIS guidelines

The Government supports these recommendations and will:

  • develop a new guide to Best Practice Regulation, and
  • continue to work through COAG towards national approaches to regulation.

Achieve best practice implementation of regulation

  • That Government departments and agencies adopt stronger risk analysis and assessment
  • That the Government require all departments and agencies to develop more robust performance monitoring and public reporting against the policy objectives of regulations administered by them

The Government supports these recommendations and will:

  • include in the Best Practice Regulation requirements that implementation and enforcement planning form party of regulatory proposals, and
  • develop appropriate reporting requirements in consultation with the Better Regulation Office.

Ensure appropriate review of regulation

  • That the Government institute post implementation reviews for significant new or amended regulation
  • That the Government amend relevant administrative requirements (ie, Premier’s Memorandum) to vary the grounds for postponing the automatic repeal (or sunset) of statutory rules to enable recognition of a post-implementation review already undertaken
  • That after each five-year review of a new Act, the Government consider whether a further review within a specific period of time should be specified in any resulting amending Bill

The Government supports these recommendations and will:

  • include processes for post implementation monitoring and review in the Best Practice Regulation guide,
  • review and revise the existing staged repeal arrangements, and
  • require all Legislation to be subject to rolling review.

Take an adaptive management approach to implementing Tribunal’s proposed regulatory process reforms by:

  • Implementing changes by administrative action first
  • Consider amending schedules 1 and 2 of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1989
  • Review the efficacy of a new Better Regulation Office

The Government supports these recommendations and will:

  • introduce administrative requirements and amend legislation as appropriate, and
  • review the efficacy of the new Better Regulation Office within three years.

That the NSW Government support and help facilitate the development of more efficient cross-jurisdictional regulation.


The Government supports this recommendation and will:

  • consider approaches to regulation in other jurisdictions in the development of the guide to Best Practice Regulation, and
  • promote consistent styles of legislation through the NSW Parliamentary Counsel.
Full reports:

IPART Full’s report and the NSW Government’s full response can be can be found below in PDF format