Ben Morton praises Mark McGowan on cutting red tape but ridicules Anthony Albanese

The West Australian
Ben Morton will today label Australia’s regulatory system a “Job-Killer”.
Ben Morton will today label Australia’s regulatory system a “Job-Killer”. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

In a major speech to the Business Council of Australia in Sydney this morning Mr Morton, the member for Tangney and Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, will outline the long-awaited Deregulation Agenda designed to save Australian businesses millions of dollars and thousands of hours in lost productivity over the next decade.

Mr Morton will reach across the political divide to praise Labor Premier Mark McGowan’s approach to tackling red tape in comparison to his Federal leader Anthony Albanese who he says is wanting.

He will accuse Federal Labor of not caring about Australian jobs and of equating deregulation with “right wing ideology” and “the law of the jungle”.

“Compared to the McGowan State Government with Streamline WA, federal Labor has regressed to year zero,” Mr Morton will say.

“Labor should return to the path of Hawke, Keating, Emerson and Tanner and assist the Government to deliver practical deregulation which preserves protections while making it easier to do business and create employment. In simple terms, if you’re not for our deregulation agenda, then you’re not for jobs.”

Mr Morton will say it is vital to ease restrictions on business if Australia is to make it through the COVID economic slump.

“Bad regulation is a ‘Job-Killer’ with no redeeming features,” he will say.

“It inhibits consumer choice, business innovation and investment, and jobs growth.”

He will outline a seven-point plan to invest $83.6 million over four years to ease the pressure on business.

Among the measures are streamlining agricultural levies, reducing barriers to allow 450,000 international students access to additional supplementary and vocational education training courses, and slashing reporting requirements of business to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Reducing the transaction costs associated with trading Australian Carbon Credit Units and other emission reductions, streamlining childcare processes into a single application across state and federal governments, reducing the administrative burden on Australian medicines and medical devices and increasing funding for the Deregulation Taskforce are also other measures.

The Deregulation Taskforce would focus on “surgical investigations of particular problem regulation areas” with its expanded funding pool and remit.

“They are just a small part of a much bigger regulatory reform picture across the whole of government. My colleagues and I have been advancing several large-scale reforms in areas yet to be announced,” Mr Morton will say.

“We must continue to ensure our regulatory systems are fit-for-purpose. We must continue to remove outdated regulation that no longer serves a discernible public purpose.”

Mr Morton will say he was tasked by the Prime Minister to adopt a “whole of Government approach to deregulation” and the “help release the ‘animal spirits’ in the economy”.

He will say while Government will do all it can to help “my main message to business and industry remains that you are vitally responsible for the regulatory environment you operate in”.

“It is now more important than ever to ensure our regulatory settings are the best they can be,” Mr Morton will say.

“Australia must continue pursuing policy settings that boost productivity and competitiveness, support well-functioning markets, and support business investment, job creation, and growth, if our living standards are to be maintained and improved.”

Mr Morton will also urge the Senate to pass the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Streamlining Environmental Approvals) Bill 2020 to “give effect to the will of the National Cabinet”.

“These amendments need to be passed before we finalise any bilateral agreements (with the States). Doing otherwise would leave any decisions taken under the agreement open to legal challenge on immaterial grounds, adding cost and creating uncertainty for project proponents,” he will say.

“This is a real test for the Senate and the Australian Labor Party.”