Red tape is a productivity-sapping and innovation-destroying virus on business. Australia is feeling the effects of a generation of governments that believe any problem in the world can be solved with another little rule, constraint or compliance requirement.

Australian business is suffering death by a thousand cuts.

There are too many rules to actually know and obey.

It’s worse than a mere harmless intent though. Too many politicians and bureaucrats cannot help but paint business as the bad guy, an evil that needs to be contained.

There are enforcers of the rules in all three levels of government. Workplace regulations, tax, superannuation, industrial relations awards and so on are dictated by the Federal government with their powerful agencies, particularly the ATO. The State governments are the most interventionist, with licensing, WHS, regulation and compliance of premises and properties, payroll taxes, stamp duties. These are enforced by an army of bureaucrats from scores of agencies. Then finally our dear local councils look over us to make sure we are operating according to their codes and plans, their rangers constantly on the lookout to catch us out. Sadly, they are aided and abetted by many citizens who see it is their duty to dob-in the smallest misdemeanour

The Liberal Party are as bad as the left leaning parties, full of party careerists with little real-life experience. They talk of removing red tape, but the track record of recent Liberal governments has been to pile on more. They are incapable of addressing the problem because they do not genuinely believe it’s a problem.

The system is so complex, many small businesses do the same as mine. We do enough to get our business open and what we can grow and prosper, despite the myriad of regulations we are knowingly or accidentally breaching. But there are too many rules to actually know and obey.  Ignorance of the law may not be a legally valid excuse, but ignorance is virtually inevitable when the law regulates almost every aspect of life and business. We are all commonly breaking the law because it is impossible not to.

So, what would I do about liberating business from this byzantine morass of red tape? How do we unscramble the omelette?

First, all new laws should have a sunset date of 5 to 10 years. The law lapses automatically if it isn’t extended.

Second, we sunset all existing laws over the next 5 to 10 years. Yes, every single law would be assigned a sunset date to lapse. This can be a random date; it doesn’t matter. As long as the law is reviewed or lapses.

Thirdy, we halve all fines and penalties. We remove incentives and rewards for the government to seek out non-compliance and confrontation. We reduce the size of the government to get rid of the people imposing the rules and bleeding off our hard work.

Finally, we abolish and cut taxes. Abolish payroll tax as it taxes job creation and discourages investment. Cut company and personal income taxes to remove the disincentives. Australia’s company tax rate should be 15% to more closely align with our trading partners. Income taxes should be reduced to a top rate of 25%, so the best and brightest want to come to Australia.

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  1. Caroline, if those four policies were implemented, Australia would instantly flourish and be a magnet for prosperity. Well done.


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