An opinion piece by Senator Dean Smith in the Australian Financial Review on the lessons from the Productivity Commission’s draft report on agricultural regulation makes some critical points on how agriculture is being burdened by harmful red tape across three levels of government.

He says the burden is so great it is harming our international competitiveness. A point highlighted in recent IPA research, which finds despite much said about cutting red tape over the past decade, Australia’s red tape performance has slipped on a number of international measures.

“From the paddock to the plate, multiple agencies across three levels of government are imposing unnecessary compliance and administrative costs on our primary producers, reducing the international competitiveness of rural industries, and hindering investment in regional Australia.” – Liberal Senator for Western Australia, Dean Smith

The Institute of Public Affairs has been advocating the for reduction in red tape as a way to stimulate the Australian economy. The IPA particularly welcomed the following recommendations from the PC review:

  • Development of market-based approaches to native vegetation legislation (Draft Recommendation 3.2), understanding that similar environmental outcomes could be achieved with less red tape.
  • Review duplicative and complex cross-jurisdictional transport legislation (Draft Recommendation 8.4, 8.5).
  • Increasing the threshold of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to $252 million (Draft Recommendation 12.1).

The real test for Australia’s decision makers is to create an honest narrative around the morality of open markets and more investment. Senator Smith remains optimistic that a new generation of Modest Members will argue for the future of Australian agriculture through less red tape.