Give Business Some Clarity, Please

There is too much legislation by announcement, followed by continual delays in enactment, let alone debate.

Uncertainty in the legislative framework holds back business and increases costs, negatively impacting on the economy.

Businesses operate under an ever increasing level and complexity of legislation, regulation and the like.
These impacts come from many quarters, be it taxation, workplace health and safety, environmental, trade practices or other.

Of course, legislation is necessary as it provides parameters in which to operate, enables the activity of government and enshrines an environment for business and the community to exist in.

However there are endless examples where:

• An announcement well precedes legislation and in fact end failure of legislation being enacted
• Significant delays in legislation coming into existence
• Political 'football' with legislative agendas
• Simple administrative interpretation or adjustment to legislation and regulation take inordinate periods of time

Creating awareness of forthcoming legislation and the debate of same does provide opportunity for business and the community to examine the impacts and consider the things needed to be done. Likewise some would say these periods and the resultant environment creates fee producing work for the relevant professions - this cannot likely be debated.

But I am sure all would be far happier if certainty was delivered earlier, subject to good process of course, and business could get on with business and driving productivity, opportunity and innovation.
In essence, business could focus its management and professional advice resources into forward looking activities.

Administrative and management resources could spend less time looking over their shoulders or developing policies that need to chop and change.

Costs expended on compliance, investigation, scenario planning could be redirected to expansion of labour forces or, dare I say it, to profit for reinvestment in the future or expenditure otherwise in the general economy.

Whilst all recognise and support the need for good legislation, it is high time that there was a review of legislative expectations - particularly the timeliness relevance and context - in an environment where the speed that business needs to operate in gains pace everyday.

Business needs to operate to deadlines set by government - how well does it work in reverse?

No doubt in itself, the cost of government rises in an environment where a majority of our federal, state and local governments are operating under continually greater fiscal challenge.

Craig Farrow
Industry Focus

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