The development of the assessment questions has been informed by the principles of good regulation.
In summary, good regulation should:
- be drafted in plain English, and be easily understood and readily accessible. Good regulation should allow everybody to easily find and understand his/her obligations. This also means avoiding duplication of responsibilities under other laws and minimising the number of regulatory instruments
- be risked based and proportionate. The Taskforce on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business has identified increasing risk aversion in many spheres of life as a major contributor to excessive and costly regulation in Australia. The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) Handbook gives clear guidance on the importance of a risk analysis to determine the need for regulation and to design a proportionate regulatory response. It notes that the achievement of zero risk is neither an appropriate nor technically feasible goal of government intervention
- avoid unnecessarily prescriptive requirements. Where possible, legislation should be principles based and outcomes focussed. Where legislation is prescriptive, clear justification should be provided
- include transparent and consistent processes for making and implementing legislation. This is fundamental to ensuring confidence in the legislative process and to safeguard opportunities to participate in the formulation of laws
- not impose regulatory burden on business that are not justified.
In relation to compliance burdens on business, the Regulation Taskforce (2006) has identified five features of regulations that should be considered when determining the intent/justification of the regulation.
Each of these features has been considered as part of the review of the hearing services scheme. These include:
- whether the regulation provides ‘excessive coverage’ or has resulted in ‘regulatory creep’. Has the legislation influenced more activity than originally intended or warranted? Is it overly prescriptive?
- whether any parts of the regulation have become redundant. Have regulations become ineffective or unnecessary as circumstances have changed over time?
- whether the regulation includes any excessive reporting or recording requirements. For example, companies may face multiple demands from different arms of government for similar information, as well as information demands that are excessive or unnecessary.
- whether there is unnecessary variation in definitions and reporting requirements (which can generate confusion and extra work for businesses)
- whether there are any inconsistent or overlapping regulatory requirements.