Government to consider expert panel to improve regulation

Friday 6 June 2008, 3:36PM
By Lianne Dalziel

Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel says she will recommend that the government consider a Select Committee recommendation to establish a high-level expert taskforce to investigate ways of improving the process for making and reviewing regulation.

The Commerce Select Committee has recommended against passing ACT leader Rodney Hide's Regulatory Responsibility Bill, saying the Committee supported the need to improve regulatory review and decision-making but felt more work is needed before any legislation could be considered, given the potential consequences of such law.

"I think that the Commerce Select Committee’s struggle with the Regulatory Responsibility Bill is evidence of the complexity that inevitably arises when dealing with the risk of unintended consequences, which all regulatory frameworks carry with them, including a law designed to improve them.

"For that reason I am pleased that the Select Committee has not rushed to propose legislative changes that run the risk of opening a can of worms in terms of adding further layers of complexity," Lianne Dalziel said.

The Committee considered 189 submissions and sought advice on a number of options but said there was little agreement amongst the committee members and submitters on the best way to tackle the issue.

To get greater consensus, the Committee recommended a taskforce comprising experts in public policy and economic, legal and constitutional matters, and draw on advice from officials, the Law Commission, Parliament and submitters from the private sector.

"While Rodney Hide's Bill has not succeeded in its current form I think it's fair to say this has been a worthwhile exercise in that it has focussed attention on the need for refining the processes to enable us to develop high quality regulation.

"We all have the same objective. We will continue to work on finding effective ways of ensuring that as legislators we make the best possible decisions so that proposed regulation is high quality, appropriately targeted and that it doesn't have unintended consequences. The announcement that the Regulatory Impact Analysis Unit (RIAU) will be shifting from MED to Treasury later this year is an example of this government's commitment to continuous quality improvement in this vital area of ensuring that regulation is fit-for-purpose," Lianne Dalziel said.

"I'd like to thank the Committee members, the officials, all the submitters and Rodney Hide for their hard work and commitment. This work will continue."