Red Tape Army: Headcount And Cost Of The Federal Regulatory Workforce

Written by:
23 February 2024
Red Tape Army: Headcount And Cost Of The Federal Regulatory Workforce - Featured image

The analysis measures the number of staff and the and staffing costs of people employed within the federal regulatory bodies and agencies.

Staffing numbers, or ‘average staffing levels’, is defined as the average number of employees receiving salary or wages over the financial year, with casual and part-time employees adjusted to a full-time equivalent. This information is derived from federal budget papers.

Key Findings

  • This year, the number of red tape enforcers—federal government employees engaged in regulatory roles— will be more than 98,800 people. This is an increase of more than 8,000 people (+9%) over the 2024 financial year (+18% increase since 2022).
  • Annual staffing costs to employ red tape enforcers alone will be approximately $13.1 billion this financial year.
  • The number of red tape enforcers will increase in all government portfolios by an average of 11% this year.
  • However, staffing at the Climate Change, Energy the Environment and Water portfolio will increase by 51% in the current financial year, which in percentage terms, is three times more than any other portfolio is expected to increase over the same period.
  • Five federal regulatory agencies are expected to increase their staffing numbers by more than 30% this financial year. Four of these are concerned with environmental regulation.
  • In 2023, there were approximately 304,000 people employed within the primary industries agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors. This means that there was one regulator for every three farmers in Australia.

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