Australians have become accustomed to governments regularly advertising their red tape reduction credentials, with claimed estimates of millions (or even billions) in red tape savings each year.

The Australian Government says reduced the cost of red tape from businesses and individuals to the tune of nearly $5 billion over the last three years (, while the states have similar processes (for example, for cutting red tape.

These initiatives sound good, but are they effective or even credible?

This is an important question to answer, given that red tape costs $176 billion every year (or 11 per cent of GDP) in foregone economic output.

The Productivity Commission is one body which has brought the costs of red tape out into the open in recent years, and it should be allowed to go even further.

The government should commit to a Productivity Commission assessment of the performance of red tape reduction strategies, jurisdiction by jurisdiction in Australia, to understand their economic impact and to check if they have eased regulatory burdens.

The next Australian Government must commit to initiatives cutting red tape to unleash prosperity. It should allow the Productivity Commission to independently scrutinise the performance of red tape reduction strategies.