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State Debt: RBA Concerns
August 14, 2006
Consumer sentiment, emissions trading scheme, stem cell research – Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra
August 16, 2006

Reducing Business Reporting Costs



A committee of Australian and State Government officials will be established to examine the case for the introduction of standardised business reporting.

This new project has the potential to reduce business reporting costs significantly and complement the measures announced in the Government’s response to the Taskforce on Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Business.

The committee will be chaired by Treasury, and will consult with Australian, state and local government agencies and undertake targeted consultation with the business sector.

A progress report will be provided to the Government by the end of 2006.

The aim will be to reduce compliance costs for a wide range of businesses through the establishment of an IT-based system which would allow businesses to report to relevant authorities in a consistent manner. This would remove the need for businesses to individually report to various government agencies at the Commonwealth, state and local levels.

The committee will examine the scope to rationalise the information provided by business to government in order to reduce duplication, as well as aligning terms and reporting periods. The application of common and consistent reporting definitions and standards to business record-keeping and accounting software would also allow businesses to derive government reports directly from their own accounts.

A similar project recently undertaken in the Netherlands eliminated reporting duplications and reduced the data collected from business from over 180,000 items to just 4,500. Current estimates indicate that the simplification of data collection will save Dutch small and medium sized businesses over €350 million (over $A580 million) per annum.

Because the Australian Government has already made significant reductions in business compliance costs, the introduction of standard business reporting in Australia is unlikely to realise benefits on a scale similar to the Netherlands.

For example, the Australian Business Number was designed as a single business identifier for all Australian Government purposes. This unique identifier can also be used by state, territory and local governments to interface with business. Reporting requirements were also streamlined with the introduction of the Business Activity Statement as a single form to report and pay five different categories of tax.

The introduction of standard business reporting would provide a further tranche in reducing the regulatory burden for business.

The Government recognises that regulatory costs are a major concern to all businesses, especially small business. In its final response to the Report of the Taskforce on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business, the Government has agreed to 158 of the report’s 178 recommendations, which should significantly reduce red tape for Australian business.

The Australian Government’s final response is available at www.treasurer.gov.au

The report of the Taskforce can be found at www.regulationtaskforce.gov.au


15 August 2006

Contact: Renae Stoikos

02 6277 7340