Reducing Red Tape

The Australian Government’s deregulation agenda aims to reduce regulatory burden and red tape imposed on business, community organisations, and individuals by $1 billion per year. Reducing regulation and red tape underpins the Government’s efforts to build a more productive and diverse economy.

Regulation is any rule endorsed by Government where there is an expectation of compliance. This includes legislation, regulations, quasi-regulations (such as standards and codes of practice) and any other aspect of regulator behaviour which can influence or compel specific behaviour by business and the community. Red tape burden imposed by the Commonwealth’s procurement, grants and the cost recovery frameworks is also included.

To implement the Government’s deregulation agenda, DSS is committed to improving its regulatory approaches towards risk-based, proportional regulatory interventions based on strong evidence. Protection of the vulnerable will remain at the core of our business, but regulation will be seen as one of a host of possible interventions to meet that goal, along with other new and innovative ways of addressing social issues.

Ministerial Advisory Committees

As part of the deregulation agenda, Cabinet Ministers are required to establish a new Ministerial Advisory Council on deregulation, or use existing committees for the purpose of consultation.

The Department is using formal ongoing consultation groups, such as the Aged Care Sector Committee and the Community‑Business Partnership, and ad-hoc targeted consultations, to test policy issues of relevance to the portfolio. This approach is consistent with the Government’s aim to reduce the number of non-statutory advisory bodies. It also reinforces the portfolio’s established approach to continuous consultation with stakeholders, including through the funding of advocacy groups, peak bodies, welfare groups and industry groups.

Since the machinery-of-government changes in December 2014, the Department now also holds responsibility for the Ministerial Advisory Council for Child Care and Early Learning.


On Wednesday 18 March 2015, the Department of Social Services 2014 Annual Deregulation Report was released to coincide with the Government’s Autumn 2015 Parliamentary Repeal Day. This Report highlights the contributions the Department made in 2014 by implementing a number of sensible improvements to reduce red tape for the benefit of individuals, businesses and the community sector.

In addition, a whole‑of‑government 2014 Annual Deregulation Report was tabled in Parliament on Repeal Day.

Reducing Red Tape in Aged Care

The Government, along with the Aged Care Sector Committee, has developed a Red Tape Reduction Action Plan (the Action Plan) for aged care.

The Action Plan represents the first step towards reducing the regulation of the aged care sector. It sets out a range of actions that can be taken to reduce unnecessary red tape for aged care providers and consumers.

International Standards

As part of the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda and the broader Deregulation Agenda, the Government has adopted the principle that if a system, service or product has been approved under a trusted international standard or risk assessment, then Commonwealth regulators should not impose any additional requirements for approval in Australia, unless it can be demonstrated that there is a good reason to do so. The objective of this principle is to reduce regulatory burden and remove barriers to trade.

To implement this principle, DSS, in consultation with portfolio regulators and key stakeholders, has developed the following criteria for assessing the appropriateness of adopting a particular international standard or risk assessment.

Criteria for assessing the potential adoption of international standards or risk assessments

  1. The standard or risk assessment is trusted. For example, it has been agreed multilaterally (e.g. through the Wold Trade Organization) or is from an overseas jurisdiction that is at the forefront of international best practice in the relevant area.
  2. Australia has no specific conditions or circumstances that warrant distinct regulatory standards or risk assessment processes.
  3. Adopting the standard or risk assessment will result in an overall net benefit (including regulatory, economic and social benefits).
  4. Stakeholders generally support the adoption of the standard or risk assessment.

Further Information

The DSS Deregulation Unit is supporting best practice approaches to regulation across the Social Services portfolio. You can contact the DSS Deregulation Unit at if you would like to share your ideas about how DSS can reduce regulation and red tape, including opportunities for accepting or adopting international standards and risk assessments relevant to the Social Services portfolio.

For further information, the Cutting Red Tape website provides whole-of-government information about the deregulation agenda and tracks the Government's overall year to date regulatory reductions.

To view or comment on any of DSS’ Regulation Impact Statements, please visit the Office of Best Practice Regulation’s Best Practice Regulations Updates website.

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