November 15 has been dubbed “Simplify Day”, but it might just as well be deemed “Take Out The Trash Day”, as the Government collates a list of unnecessary and onerous red-tape to formally junk.
Assistant Treasurer Chris Picton told InDaily the Government’s “regulation simplification unit” had received more than 60 suggestions from business and lobby groups of cumbersome or outdated laws ripe for removal – along with some he’s not keen to touch.
“Obviously some of them are things that we’d never get rid of, like Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare laws and things like that, but we’ve had some very useful and specific suggestions [from] experts that deal with these sort of things every day,” he said, noting that many of them involved the transport industry.
“People involved in that [heavy vehicles] industry have looked at what’s involved in other states, where they have less onerous regulations on people.
“Some [of the suggestions] involved rego labels, which obviously aren’t on light commercial vehicles any more, so that’s something that’s been suggested.”
There could also be some streamlining of regulations for such vehicles, with Picton noting: “Some of the restrictions on them are different for different heights, so we’d maybe have one set of restrictions on heavy vehicles over a certain height, rather than it being different every 10 centimetres.”
Among other bureaucratic shibboleths set for the chop is one demanding second-hand car dealers seek special Government dispensation to display vehicles at special functions.
“If you’re a second-hand car dealer you need to get permission from the Government to display your vehicles at an expo or trade show or something like that,” Picton explained.
“You have to fill in forms and get permission from us, and that’s something that’s not really worth the effort or hassle for the people involved.”
Beyond that, he says, he expects Simplify Day to end up “making Government forms easier to fill in as well”.
“A lot of our forms have been the same for some time, or get longer and longer as new requirements are added,” he said.
It’s evident Simplify Day is not going to involve any state-redefining reforms, albeit incrementally chipping away at the long-held gripe that SA’s red tape stifles its business bent.
“I think we can always work to do better in this area,” Picton said.
“But I dare say if you go to other states they might say the same things about their state governments.
“It’s really good to spell out what are those important regulations that help people’s health and safety and are really important for the environment, versus those that are there because they’ve always been there.”
The unit behind Simplify Day will continue its mission indefinitely after November 15, and Picton isn’t ruling out the event becoming an annual fixture – a ritual celebration of taking out the proverbial trash.
“We haven’t said that, but it may well become one,” he said.
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