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Regulatory Reform Program

The Victorian Government is delivering regulatory reform to support the State’s economic recovery and growth – while maintaining important safeguards for the community and environment.

Regulatory reform has a critical role to play in supporting the State’s economic recovery and growth.

A high performing regulatory system provides for:

  • Productive, innovative businesses
  • Protected citizens and environment
  • Confident consumers and businesses

A high performing regulatory system helps create quality jobs in Victoria. It protects vulnerable people and the environment. And it gives consumers the confidence to make big purchases like a home, and businesses the confidence to invest in our state.

Victoria already has a robust regulatory system which embeds legal requirements for regular assessments of the impacts of regulations on businesses and the community. This helps us to ensure the regulations are necessary and deliver their intent at least cost.

The 2020-21 Budget provided $75 million over four years for regulatory reform to support the state’s economic recovery.

The Minister for Regulatory Reform, along with the Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Small Business and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, hosted a series of business roundtables early in 2021 to hear directly from businesses about their ideas and priorities for regulatory reform.

The industry roundtables enabled business groups and councils to raise the regulatory challenges they’re facing and to put forward their priorities for making it easier to do business in the State.

Businesses told us their priorities are:

  • Simpler and faster approvals processes.
  • Easier processes when they deal with multiple areas of government.
  • More recognition of the pressures that complex or expensive regulation can create for small businesses.

Simpler and faster approvals

This has been a major focus of the regulatory reform package, notably the $40 million Regulation Reform Incentive Fund, which is so far supporting 22 projects from 10 portfolios.

These projects will deliver quicker approval times and make government easier to deal with, including by digitising how regulators work. For example, online platforms will save businesses time and money in doing things such as becoming a driving instructor or a rideshare provider, or conducting commercial activities involving wildlife.

When the fund is allocated and projects are implemented next year, Victorian businesses should benefit by around $200 million a year.

Two Better Approvals projects funded in the 2020-21 Budget are also working toward simpler and faster approvals:

  • Better Approvals for Business is being led by the Minister for Small Business. It builds on the first round of Better Approvals, which introduced concierge models in councils, and reduced approval times for multi-permit applications from 174 days to 49 days.
  • Better Approvals for Regulators involves Better Regulation Victoria working with ten larger Victorian Government regulators to speed up approvals and make them easier for businesses to deal with.

Easier processes when businesses deal with multiple areas of government

The government is also streamlining where businesses deal with multiple parts of government. The goal is businesses “telling us once” – not repeatedly being asked for the same information by different regulators.

Service Victoria is moving more approvals online and enabling businesses to manage multiple approvals for different regulators in one place.

The Department of Treasury and Finance is working with regulators to overcome caution about information sharing with practical tools to help regulators know when they can share information, and the data they are allowed to retain.

Improving small businesses’ dealings with state and local governments

In 2020, the Government and the regulatory system was able to respond quickly to changes in circumstances. Struggling small businesses were provided with support, including fee relief and relaxations in rules that allowed them to keep trading.

We are investigating options to extend some of these regulatory changes and make further changes to help small businesses, including automating or removing approvals for some low-risk activities.

Building on earlier work to reduce regulatory burden on businesses

In 2015 the Government set a whole of government gross Red Tape Reduction Target that included a commitment to reduce Victoria’s regulatory burden by 25 per cent. It met this target in 2018.

Over the last few years in Victoria, the government has been able to deliver significant productivity gains across regulators and regulatory systems by focusing on the way regulators regulate.

  • The Better Approvals program for Small Business – led to a reduction in approval times on multiple permit applications from 174 days to 49 days (72 per cent).
  • A review of the Earth Resources Regulator– has improved licensing and approval timeframes from only 68 per cent approved within specified timelines in 2017, to 98 per cent in 2019.
  • Energy Safe Victoria has introduced digital certificates of Electrical Safety saving electrical contractors and consumers $7.3 million a year.

The Government is also implementing the recommendations of a review undertaken by the Commissioner for Better Regulation designed to streamline regulatory processes and reduce delays and costs for planning applicants.

SGS Economics estimated that implementing these recommendations would reduce the average time needed to get a planning permit in Victoria by 30 days, boost Gross State Product by $775 million over five years, and increase construction jobs by 550 each year.

Regulation Reform Incentive Fund Initiatives

Victorian Government regulatory reform initiatives

Ministerial portfolio

Heavy Vehicle Permit Reform (expansion of networks)

Roads and Road Safety

Simplifying Victoria’s Food Safety Program requirement for class 2 businesses

Health

Online system for Booking Service Provider (BSP) applications

Public Transport

Online system for driving instructor applications

Public Transport

Online platform for the Conservation Regulator

Energy, Environment and Climate Change

Online portal to streamline Traditional Owner approvals

Planning

Improving access to information for building consumers

Planning

Upgrading Victoria’s planning referral system

Planning

Online heritage applications and payments

Planning

Heritage user dashboard

Planning

Digitising early childhood assessment and rating processes

Early Childhood

Improving the Skills First enrolment process

Training and Skills

Online Early Childhood Education and Care provider approvals

Early Childhood

Expand FoodTrader to more businesses

Health

Streamlining business licensing and registration systems

Consumer Affairs

Work & Development Permit Enhancements

Attorney-General

Abridged death certificates

Attorney-General

Improve effectiveness of Working With Children Checks

Attorney-General

Electronic Working with Children Check credentials

Attorney-General

Improved permits for the Traffic Management Industry

Roads and Road Safety

Codify low risk development applications

Transport Infrastructure

Effective Regulation for Agricultural Growth

Agriculture

Local Government regulatory reforms

Local Government Authority

Pilot program: Amendments to planning policy to promote growth in activity centres

City of Casey

Developing guidelines and factsheets for businesses to navigate council permit requirements

Moreland City Council

Better business toolkit

Nillumbik Shire Council 

Lodgement portal and integration toolkit

Banyule City Council

Digital applications - health and community laws

Knox City Council

Consolidating council systems to help businesses needing multiple approvals

Maroondah City Council

Digital permits for the most common business applications

City of Melbourne

Online platform for businesses to manage their interactions with councils

Moreland City Council

Streamlining and digitising permit processes to improve customer experience

City of Stonnington

Streamlining business applications

City of Whittlesea

Development of back-end system and online portal for all business enquiries to council 

City of Yarra

Addressing information to activating unused property

City of Yarra

Planning file digitisation

Banyule City Council

Digital planning development applications

Mansfield Shire Council

 

Reviewed 17/11/2021
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