Legislation review

Overview

Under the Competition Principles Agreement (CPA), all Australian governments undertook to review and, where appropriate, remove regulatory restrictions on competition.


This review was carried out in accordance with the guiding principle that:

‘…legislation (including acts, enactments, ordinances or regulations) should not restrict competition unless it can be demonstrated that the:

  • benefits of the restriction to the community as a whole outweigh the costs, and
  • objectives of the legislation can only be achieved by restricting competition.’

Clause 5(1) Competition Principles Agreement

The application of this principle involves:

  • reviewing existing legislation that restricts competition and reforming it unless the restrictions are in the public interest;
  • testing legislative proposals that restrict competition against the guiding principles of existing legislation; and
  • ongoing review of retained regulatory restrictions on competition.

Victoria has successfully implemented a comprehensive legislation review program and, in many cases, significant reform has been implemented.

The Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) external-link.gif is the Victorian Government’s advisory body on business regulation reform and opportunities for improving Victoria’s competitive position.

All new and amended legislation with potentially significant effects for business and competition is subject to a Business Impact Assessment. This analysis encompasses assessments against the principles of National Competition Policy.

The VCEC is the responsible body for assessing the adequacy of Business Impact Assessments and Regulatory Impact Statements. Recent changes to the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 enhance the transparency of the making of legislative instruments, provide more opportunity for public feedback and enable parliamentary scrutiny of government decision making.

Subordinate legislation – that is, laws made in circumstances where the Victorian Parliament has delegated the law-making power to another person or body – is a vital regulatory tool. The Act previously applied a range of scrutiny and consultation processes to some, but not all, types of subordinate legislation made in Victoria.

The changes mean more types of subordinate legislation i.e. statutory and legislative instruments that have a significant burden on the public are the subject of analysis, public consultation and scrutiny through the regulatory impact statement (RIS) process.

There is a consistent level of scrutiny for subordinate legislation based upon an instrument's potential impact, rather than its legal form. This increases opportunities for identifying better regulation and helps to prevent the introduction of unnecessary regulatory burden.