PC to study regulatory impact processes

Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald, Commissioner

Consumer groups have long been concerned about the flaws and biases of regulatory impact analysis (see for example Choice submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into a Consumer Policy Framework in 2008). One key problem is their focus on measurement and therefore the bias towards measurable costs of intervention against less measurable benefits (and some future costs).

As noted on the Productivity Commission’s web site, the Australian Government, with the agreement of Council of Australian Governments (COAG)’s Business Regulation and Competition Working Group, has requested that the Productivity Commission undertake a benchmarking study into regulatory impact analysis (RIA) processes.

In undertaking this study, the Productivity Commission has been requested to benchmark the efficiency and quality of Commonwealth, state and territory, and COAG RIA processes. The Commission is to specifically have regard to:

  • when RIA are required and the factors which must be taken into consideration in analysis
  • the mechanisms in place to ensure accountability and compliance with RIA processes
  • specific evidence of where the RIA process has resulted in improved regulation
  • how and when in the decision-making cycle decision makers engage
  • whether there are leading practice examples in RIA that might usefully inform reform consideration by individual jurisdictions.

The study will compare processes and identify leading practices so that individual jurisdictions might learn from the experiences of others and to enable existing processes to be refined to maximise their effectiveness.

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