Meeting the Red Tape Commissioner

The State Government’s Red Tape Commissioner, Dr Matthew Buttlin, met with a Be.Bendigo this week to hear of local concerns and priorities for red tape reduction.

The Red Tape Commissioner works with Victoria’s business community and the Government to help cut red tape and improve regulation.

In doing this work, the Commissioner is focused on opportunities to:

  • cut red tape that will contribute to the Government’s 25 percent red tape reduction target;
  • improve regulators’ dealings with business, including compliance and enforcement;
  • cut regulatory overlap and duplicated reporting requirements;
  • identify ‘hotspots’ where regulatory reform efforts can be focused and help unlock economic activity; and
  • improve how regulators administer the regulations for which they are responsible.

The Red Tape Commissioner is required to report to the Treasurer on specific regulatory problems and recommendations for practical solutions.

Dr Matthew Butlin is the current Red Tape Commissioner and was appointed on 22 September 2015. Matthew has extensive experience as a senior executive in both the public and private sectors, including in mining and management consulting businesses. Immediately prior to being appointed Red Tape Commissioner, he was the Chair of the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC). As Chair he was responsible for making many recommendations for better regulation and reducing red tape burdens including environmental and local government regulations.

The Red Tape Commissioner is supported by the Department of Treasury and Finance and other agencies.

The Commissioner has assisted Be.Bendigo members with excessive regulatory requirements over the last two years, with a number of successful outcomes.

Discussions at this most recent meeting covered issues related to land development, implementation of the Food Act, streamlining government procurement processes and hospitality fit-out constraints.

As members regularly tell us they are hamstrung by red tape – so much that can often put an immediate holt to business Mr Buttlin advised he will be in the Greater Bendigo area again and again, to support and follow up new & existing regulatory issues.

Red tape reform continues to be a priority for Be.Bendigo. Out-dated, overly prescriptive government regulations add to business costs and stifle growth. It is more important than ever in the current tough economic environment that local businesses are freed-up to focus on expanding their operations.

With the City of Greater Bendigo Council working toward strategies that address the growing population – working with pillar organisations to establish an understanding of what we might expect Bendigo will need in 2020, and with significant development work and opportunities for the Bendigo economy to grow, Dr Buttlin said it was important to address the city’s red tape issues.

“There’s a real opportunity to improve Bendigo’s future by looking at what the right regulatory arrangements are,” he said. “There’s a mix of opportunity that may be being held back and, on the other hand, there are things that, on the face of it, seem unnecessarily difficult.”

“A challenge, however, is that the process of removing red tape can itself be mired in red tape”, a point not lost on Dr Buttlin.

“When you improve red tape, sometimes the means of doing this takes some time. When you have to amend a regulation or change a law, which means going through government departments or parliament. There are significant delays in that process.”