Red Tape Bureaucrats To Top 100,000 For The First Time

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2 July 2024
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“Red tape makes it harder for Australians to get ahead and increases the cost of doing business, which is only set to be made worse as there are now enough red tape bureaucrats in Canberra to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” said Lachlan Clark, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.

New IPA research released today reveals the rapid growth of bureaucrats dedicated to creating and enforcing regulation on Australian workers and businesses since the election of the Albanese government. The analysis shows:

  • By the end of the 2025 financial year, the total number of staff employed by the federal government in regulatory roles will be more than 106,000.
    • This represents an increase of more than 5,000 from the 2024 financial year, and an overall increase of more than 15,000, or 17 per cent, from the 2023 financial year.
  • The cost of employing red tape enforcers alone will be approximately $14.7 billion by the end of the 2025 financial year, an increase of $797 million from the 2024 financial year
  • This growth is driven by a hiring splurge in the Department of Climate Change, Energy the Environment and Water, where red tape bureaucrats have increased by 76 per cent over the past two financial years

“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.

“Every year businesses spend thousands of hours complying with unnecessary reports, confusing permits, and needless licenses. Now the federal government is spending almost $15 billion to employ bureaucrats, which will make it even harder to do business in Australia.”

“Every minute employees spend pandering to red tape requirements is a minute those employees are not dedicating to their businesses and generating economic activity. These costs are passed on to Australians through higher prices and fewer employment opportunities,” said Mr Clark.

The IPA’s latest research also reveals employment costs of red tape bureaucrats in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water will increase by 16 per cent, costing an additional $100 million, totalling $747 million. Growth in the cost of employing red tape bureaucrats across all departments will increase by 6 per cent as well.

‘’It is hard to escape the conclusion that our resources and agricultural sectors are under attack by the political class in Canberra. All too often the vital role these sectors play in generating wealth for our nation is unappreciated. This wealth is invested into the services which the entire community benefits from, such as roads, schools, and hospitals,” 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 is hellbent on increasing red tape, which is one of the biggest constraints on economic opportunity, business investment, and job creation in Australia,” said Mr Clark.

To download the IPA’s research click here.

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