The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) welcomes the State Government’s announcement today that it will make it easier for Western Australian businesses to grow, invest and create jobs by cutting red tape in our State’s planning system.
CCI had long called for WA businesses regulatory burden to be reduced. WA needs to be the place where businesses 'want' to be located so this means creating an attractive business environment with less red tape.
Red tape hurts the economy by wasting resources, delaying new projects and discouraging business investment. Ultimately, red tape costs WA jobs. Making it faster and easier to access government services and approvals by cutting red tape is essential to helping WA businesses innovate, grow and compete.
Our members regularly raise onerous requirements for ‘change of use’ applications as a costly barrier to expanding their operations, investing in a new project or starting a business. We welcome the State Government’s announcement that it will cut processing times to seven days and will simplify the application process.
The creation of a one-stop online portal for landowners to access planning policies will also go a long way toward supporting WA businesses to better access and engage with government.
This engagement will build on the work already being undertaken by Streamline WA, which provides an important platform for developing and implementing innovative approaches to regulation for the benefit of all West Australians.
Key areas where the Government can act now to support WA businesses by reducing red tape include:
- Support local government reform by putting council amalgamations back on the agenda, or at the very least, harmonising local government laws for businesses, with some flexibility for local character. It makes little sense why a business should be expected to follow a different application process and pay different fees for operating a food van in one local government area to the next, or for planning fees, administration fees and inspection fees to all vary.
- Task the independent economic authority, the ERA, to review council rate setting and provide recommendations on improvements. It is time for a well-informed debate about how Councils set their rates, which have increased by 6.2 per cent per year on average in the five years to 2017-18.
- Strengthen and enforce the use of the Regulatory Impact Assessment and Regulatory Impact Statement processes by Ministers and agencies for proposals that have a targeted impact on businesses in a specific industry, or a widespread cost impact across many industries.
- Require all public agencies that administer regulation and business licenses to have a published customer service charter and establish a clear mechanism that enables regulated parties to provide feedback on red tape issues.
- Make it easier for individuals and businesses to access government services by providing a one-stop shop for transactions and interactions that preference a digital solution.
CCI looks forward to working with the State Government and our members during the stakeholder engagement process to identify further opportunities for regulatory reform.