As a rule, bureaucracy is smothering agriculture

Bookmark and Share Economics & Deregulation | Daniel Wild
Weekly Times 10th August, 2016

The Productivity Commission's call to slash red tape across the agricultural sector is exactly what our farmers need.

The recently released draft report highlighted the breathtaking array of complex, duplicative and often inconsistent red-tape requirements that hold our agricultural sector back.

Farmers are best suited to farming; not filling out forms, complying with archaic rules and battling distant regulators.

The Federal Government should heed the commission's calls and cut back on reams of stifling red tape.

The quicker the change, the quicker the benefits will accrue.

In particular, the privatisation of major ports and foreign-flagged vessels will improve efficiency and get transport costs down.

Removing bans on genetically modified crops will give consumers more choice and allow innovation.

Repealing the re-regulation of international sugar marketing will encourage investment in sugar mills and improve competition.

The sheer volume and growth of red tape is out of control. Unfortunately, tinkering around the edges is no longer enough. Bold reform is needed to permanently eradicate red-tape.

To do this, the commission should consider how political institutions could be reformed.

The best place to start is with our three-tiered red-tape system. Many activities across the economy are regulated by local and state governments as well as at the federal level.

This extra regulation provides no extra benefits to the environment or public safety. It just adds costs.

A basic principle of effective regulation is that it should be developed and implemented by those nearest to the regulated community. This is where the local knowledge is.

A good example is environmental regulation. The Commonwealth has responsibility for regulating matters under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

But many requirements under this Act - such as the need for businesses to prepare environmental impact assessments - are also required at the state level.