A busy year for reform in Queensland

The Queensland Competition Authority’s annual report, published today, highlights the Authority’s growing contribution to regulatory reform as well as its traditional role as an economic regulator.

“Over the last twelve months, the QCA has been central to the Government’s agenda for cutting red tape by 20 per cent,” said QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts.

“Many States have set targets to reduce regulation. Only Queensland will make its target meaningful by establishing clear, public benchmarks to measure the progress of reform.

“The Office of Best Practice Regulation in the QCA has identified more than 500,000 obligations imposed by State regulation. While many of these obligations are not contentious, such as justice and policing, others impose significant costs on the community.

“The QCA has recommended targets for each government department to reduce their share of the regulatory burden.

“The Office of Best Practice Regulation will report each year on progress against these targets. The Office will also report on reforms to cut the number of pages of Queensland legislation,” Malcolm Roberts said.

Removing or simplifying existing regulation is only part of the reform program. Controlling the growth of new regulation is equally important.

“The QCA is now responsible for assessing regulatory proposals to ensure that regulation is only introduced when the benefits to the community outweigh regulatory costs,” said QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts.

While supporting the Government’s regulatory reform agenda was a major priority in 2012–13, the QCA also continued its work promoting competition and efficient prices in the electricity, water, rail and ports sectors.

“In 2012–13, the QCA released major reports on water pricing. After two years of intensive price monitoring, the QCA confirmed that Queensland Urban Utilities and Unity Water are charging prices reflecting prudent and efficient costs.

“The news was less happy for electricity consumers. With costs rising across the board, the QCA made the difficult but responsible decision to increase electricity prices sharply for 2013–14. The QCA is working with business and community groups to improve public understanding of electricity issues.

“In the rail sector, the QCA has been working closely with industry to settle arrangements which will improve funding for infrastructure expansion and enhance competition in above-rail services. The QCA has an important role in ensuring that Queensland continues to have world class infrastructure supporting the resources sector.

“The last 12 months has been a challenging but rewarding time for the QCA,” Malcolm Roberts said.

The QCA Annual Report 2012–13 is available online at www.qca.org.au