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Keywords:

  • Financial services reform;
  • Government policy;
  • Regulation;
  • Regulation impact statement (RIS);
  • Regulatory burden;
  • Simpler Regulatory System Bill

Regulation impact assessment is a process by which policy makers can systematically assess the impact on affected stakeholder groups of various feasible alternatives for addressing an identified regulatory problem. This should enable better regulatory decisions to be made. The regulation impact assessment requirements for Commonwealth Government entities are set out in the Best Practice Regulation Handbook (OBPR, 2007).

The general approach set out in the Handbook is sound. Clearly policy makers should first work out whether or not there is a problem before they attempt to fix it. Having clearly identified a problem, they should then carefully consider whether regulation is a justified response. Although the fundamental thinking behind the Handbook is sound, numerous issues and challenges will arise for government departments and agencies—as well as affected stakeholder groups—in complying with the new requirements.