Red Tape Reduction

More information on the NSW Government’s Better Regulation initiatives is available from the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.

Red tape reduction target

The NSW Government's $750 million red tape reduction target commitment is complete. From September 2011 to June 2015, the target was exceeded by $146 million, and reduced regulatory costs for business and the community by $896 million in annual terms. Government agencies implemented 308 reforms over the five year life of the commitment. A further 45 reforms implemented from June to December 2015 generated an additional $83.5 million in cost savings, bringing overall cost savings to $979.5 million.

The target supports the NSW Government's commitment to making it easier to start and operate a business in NSW by reducing red tape. This allows business to spend more time operating and expanding their business, creating jobs and boosting productivity in NSW.

Fourty four red tape reforms delivered between January and June 2015 are saving business and the community a total of $80.8 million in annual terms by removing or simplifying requirements, improving the provision of information or moving to online applications. Of this total, $57.4 million in cost savings was independently verified by Deloitte Access Economics.

Claimed red tape reductions were reviewed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. To further ensure transparency, accountability and accuracy, DPC engaged an external consultant each year to review a sample of costed savings. The Guidelines for estimating savings under the red tape reduction target specifies that savings above $5 million are independently verified, along with a sample of other reforms.

Further details are set out in Premier's Memorandum 2012-02 Red tape reduction – new requirements.

'One on, two off' policy

From September 2011 to June 2015, 237 principal legislative instruments were repealed and 54 were introduced. Over the life of the commitment, agencies removed four times as many principal pieces of legislation as were created.

From January to June 2015, 4 principal legislative instruments were introduced and 8 were repealed. The policy resulted in twice the number of repeals than principal legislative instruments were introduced. There was no net change in regulatory burden.

Over the five year life of the ‘one on, two off’ policy there was an overall net increase in the change in regulatory burden of $16.1 million. Three of the reporting periods resulted in a net decrease or no change in regulatory burden. Net increases in 2012 and 2014 were due to the benefits of introducing regulation outweighing the costs of improving community health and environment outcomes.

In 2012, the increase was primarily due to important regulatory changes made under the Public Health Regulation 2012 that require the owners of commercial public swimming pools and spas to improve water treatment and testing to reduce the risk of transmission of diseases.

Under the NSW Government 'one on, two off' policy for all new principal legislation, each calendar year the Government aimed to ensure that:

  • the number of principal legislative instruments (i.e. principal Acts and principal Regulations) repealed is at least twice the number of new principal legislative instruments introduced (a 'numeric test'); and
  • the regulatory burden imposed by new principal legislative instruments within each portfolio is less than the regulatory burden removed by the repeal of principal legislative instruments from the same portfolio (a 'regulatory burden constraint').

The overall objective of the 'one on, two off' policy is straightforward—it ensures that Ministers carefully assess the need to introduce new legislation and forces reviews of existing legislation. Together with other elements of the Government's regulatory reform strategy, the policy aimed to drive cultural change across government and reduce the overall stock of legislation.

The 'one on, two off' policy commenced on 4 April 2011. The requirements of the policy are set out in Premier's Memorandum 2012-02 Red tape reduction – new requirements.