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Government launches new guide setting out expectations for regulators

The government has released a new guide to help lift the performance, capability and culture of Commonwealth regulators.

Government launches new guide setting out expectations for regulators
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  • Staff Reporter
  • July 01, 2021
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Following a consultation and development process, the Morrison government has released its Regulator Performance Guide, setting out its expectations of regulator performance and reporting via three principles of best practice, including continuous improvement and building trust; risk based and data driven; and collaboration and engagement.

“Our Deregulation Agenda is focused on making it easier to do business in Australia. Our regulators need to be at the heart of this work. They need to be clear on what we expect and what best practice looks like,” said Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton.

“This new guide is a part of our broader work to increase accountability, promote best practice, support cultural change and build the professionalism of regulators. It will also streamline regulator performance reporting against these expectations."

Noting that while regulators are often operationally independent of government, this does not mean independent of expectations or guidance about how they fulfil their statutory roles.

Reflecting this, the guide also sets out the government's policy for issuing Ministerial Statements of Expectations to regulators on the government's objectives and policies relevant to the regulator's statutory remit.

“We took the time to listen to a broad range of views about what we should expect from our regulators. Making sure regulators are accountable to these expectations will help unleash the potential of Australian business and drive economic and jobs growth," Mr Morton said. 

Also making its thoughts heard, the Institute of Public Accountants submitted its comments in May, arguing that while it supports the three principles, "implementation, enforcement and revision also need to be guiding principles".

"There must be a genuine approach to building trust, risk-based regulation and collaboration and engagement. Paying lip service to these should be called out and attempts made for consistent and genuine application of the principles," Vicki Stylianou, group executive of advocacy and policy at the IPA, said. 

"We acknowledge there are pockets of good practice, best practice and excellence and we encourage all stakeholders to take responsibility in striving for excellence at all times."

The Regulator Performance Guide applies from 1 July 2021 with a transition period of one year. Material to support regulators in implementing the guide, including a library of best practice case studies, is available on the Deregulation Agenda website.

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