The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has welcomed progress on the federal government’s efforts to reduce red tape, including the introduction of a new deregulation website and six-monthly parliamentary ‘repeal days’. The HIA is the voice of Australia’s $70 billion home building industry.

HIA Chief Executive – Industry Policy and Media, Graham Wolfe observes that inefficient and unnecessary regulation is a real bugbear of the building industry and adds costs to building a new home. The government, by allocating parliamentary sitting time to freeing up builders and the economy by reducing laws, has shown a genuine commitment to addressing this chronic problem. 

For instance, the ATO contractor reporting requirements was placed on the home building industry, with the laws unfairly transferring the burden of information collection from the ATO onto small business principal contractors and builders, imposing considerable additional administrative and accounting red tape. 

In 2011, Treasury estimated a one-off cost of $90 would be borne by businesses required to prepare and lodge a report. However, HIA builder members advised that on average they spent an additional 17.8 hours on paperwork as a result of the new regulations and incurred extra costs of $1,621. 

Mr Wolfe concludes that it is not uncommon for the bureaucracy to underestimate the time-consuming nature of compliance; it is therefore essential these tasks are not duplications, and do not involve inconsistent definitions across portfolios or pass the burden from government to small business.