A new book edited by Dr Chris Berg and Dr Darcy Allen, ‘Australia’s Red Tape Crisis’ was launched today at an Institute of Public Affairs event in Parliament House.
Coverage of the book was covered in The Australian today in a report by Economics Editor Adam Creighton.
Thou shalt not mandate. A new book by two free-market thinkers at RMIT University has declared Australia’s deregulation agenda an abject failure, urging governments to adopt a novel Canadian approach to unclogging the nation’s economic arteries.
Launched by the Institute of Public Affairs today in Canberra, Australia’s Red Tape Crisis, edited by Christopher Berg and his colleague Darcy Allen, has found mounting regulation is costing the economy $176 billion a year.
“Every elected Australian government over the past two decades has declared they would cut back on unnecessary regulation and red tape,” Dr Allen said.
He continues his report:
The book recommends governments instead focus on cutting “restrictiveness clauses” in legislation and regulations. “If a law or regulation says ‘must’ or ‘shall’ or ‘cannot’, you get rid of it,” Dr Berg said. In British Columbia, the number of restrictiveness clauses has fallen from 330,000 in 2001 to 170,000 last year.
“What’s really significant about this is it coincided with a big jump in growth in British Columbia compared to the rest of Canada. It was before then one of the worst-performing provinces,” he said.
As The Australian editorial ‘Red And Green Tape Hurts Us All’ notes:
Australia’s Red Tape Crisis, edited by Darcy Allen and Chris Berg, quotes a Deloitte estimate on the cost of federal, state and local government regulatory burdens at $94 billion annually. The book also cites a study claiming this burden cuts output by $176bn, or more than 10 per cent of GDP. “In an ideal world,” Berg argues in the book, “governments would intervene in the market when there was clear evidence that consumers and producers would be significantly worse off in the absence of that intervention.” But in the real world governments will intervene much more often for a variety of reasons. There will always be good reasons to regulate — we have only to look to the banking royal commission to see the consequences that flow from inadequate or poorly policed regulation — but there is also a constant risk of unintended consequences. From renewable energy targets to vehicle emissions restrictions and native vegetation clearance controls, we see how environmental regulation, or green tape, adds layers and complexity.
Red tape costs the Australian economy as much as $176 billion a year. Governments create and enforce thousands of regulations on our workplaces and our communities. These rules slow and prevent businesses forming, people from flourishing, new technologies from being adopted, and hold back Australia’s global competitiveness.
Australia’s Red Tape Crisis is an exploration into the economics, politics and culture of over-regulation. How should we structure our federation to achieve reform? Does Australia have a deep desire for a federal bureaucracy? What is the future of red tape reduction policies?
Together, the contributions of economists, philosophers, politicians and lawyers help define a path for overcoming Australia’s red tape crisis. The Book ‘Australia’s Red Tape Crisis’ can be purchased here.