Yet another study has shown that red tape is a key challenge facing Australian businesses. The University of Melbourne’s Study of Australian Leadership report, released in May 2016, has cited senior business figures naming excessive regulation as a key issue; stating that it inhibits the ability of business to adapt to changing economic conditions, and damages international competitiveness by driving up costs.[1]

For example, one figure told the study:

“The most critical challenge we will face in the next five years are probably navigating government policy changes and regulatory changes.”

Others quoted in the report said that:

“The biggest hurdle that the business faces is the amount of time spent fulfilling statutory obligations versus business operations”

“… my job’s basically gone from running a business to being a pseudo solicitor. I spend most of my time reading about changes to our regulations than I do running the business.”[2]

“Government regulations, state and local government – too much regulation and it is confusing…. [It] also makes one nervous going ahead as we don’t know how the regulations will be changed or interpreted.”

Industry specific regulation was identified as a major source of regulatory complication; with liquor licensing laws in the Accommodation and Food Services industry named as an example.[3]

The report also listed Australia as ranking 17th on the Global Innovation Index, although Australia also ranked a disappointing 72nd on the Innovation Efficiency Ratio.[4]

[1] p. 49

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] p. 74

By Michael Husek