Bureaucrats Dedicated To Policing Red Tape Poised To Hit 100,000

Written by:
23 February 2024
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“The increase of environmental bureaucrats in Canberra, by more than half, shows how the federal government is determined to curtail growth in Australia’s critical resources sector, no doubt to placate inner-city demands,” said Lachlan Clark, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs

New IPA research released today highlights the rapid growth in bureaucrats dedicated to creating and enforcing regulation on Australian workers and businesses. Analysis of spending committed in the federal Budget shows by the end of this financial year:

  • The total number of staff employed by the federal government in regulatory roles will increase by 9 per cent, from 90,620 staff to 98,814 staff.
  • This growth is driven by the Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water portfolio, where total staff will increase by 51 per cent – which in percentage terms is three times more than any other portfolio will increase over the same period.
  • Four of the five regulatory government agencies and departments with the largest increase to staffing levels this year are involved with environmental regulation; the Climate Change Authority; the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water; the Murray Darling Basin Authority; and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

“Australia’s resources sector and primary industries are the cornerstone of our national wealth. It is these industries that fund our schools, roads, and hospitals, but are always the first to be targeted by environmental activists and the political class,” said Mr Clark.

The IPA’s latest research also reveals total federal government spending on staff within the Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water portfolio will increase by 32 per cent, from $488 million to $645 million. This compares to increases in spending on staff across the federal government of seven per cent, from $12.26 billion to $13.12 billion.

“With productivity collapsing, rather than expanding the already huge regulatory burden on Australia’s most productive industries, the federal government should be cutting red tape to generate investment, create jobs, and unleash prosperity,” said Mr Clark.

Previous IPA research has shown that red tape at the federal level has increased by 88 per cent since 2005, and is now at a record high, growing at a rate two-thirds greater than the overall growth in the national economy since 2005.

“It is concerning at a time when Australia desperately needs productivity growth that the federal government has outsourced vital economic policy to inner-city elites and the political class,” said Mr Clark.

To download the IPA’s research click here.

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