In 2013, the Australian Government made a commitment to regulatory reform with the aim of reducing the burden of regulation, boosting productivity, increasing competitiveness and lifting regulatory performance. This responsibility, known as the deregulation agenda, focuses on eliminating inefficient or unnecessary regulation that imposes burdens on business, individuals and community organisations.

The department established a Deregulation Unit in late 2013 to lead the implementation of the deregulation agenda, as well as an internal Deregulation Committee with senior representation from across the department to provide strategic oversight.

During the year, the department supported the deregulation agenda by completing the first part of a two-stage audit of regulation within the portfolio (with the second stage due to be completed by the end of December 2014), contributing to the Government’s first repeal day to cut unnecessary and costly legislation and regulation, and complying with new regulation impact statement processes.

Measures in 2013–14 that reduced the regulatory burden on our stakeholders include:

  • a ministerial direction to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency ( TEQSA) to simplify its paperwork and deregulate. This requires TEQSA to take a deregulatory approach to its work, simplify its processes, and improve its timeliness to register higher education providers and accredit courses. TEQSA has been directed to consult with the higher education sector on the formulation of its strategies, implementation plans and their execution, rather than unilaterally imposing uncoordinated and duplicative reporting requirements as has occurred in the past
  • reducing red tape for the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters ( HIPPY) programme, including the implementation of an enhanced IT solution to support the provider to improve data collection from HIPPY sites and allow reporting to be streamlined between the department and the provider. Other reporting changes reduced the frequency of progress reports from a monthly to a quarterly basis, and replaced some written reports with verbal updates
  • two initiatives that provide a practical reduction in regulatory burden on schools. First, as a result of the Australian Education Act 2013 taking effect from 1 January 2014, there was an opportunity to review the processes and school data collected in the annual non-government school census. Resulting changes saw a significant reduction of the burden on schools through simplifying the census requirements, including the removal of data that is no longer needed. Another initiative was to remove the requirement for a signed letter from school principals to accompany a project variation request for the movement of funds between schools under the concluded Building the Education Revolution programme. The removal of this requirement provided a practical reduction in the administrative burden placed on school principals.