Regulation Reduction Incentive Fund to cut small business compliance costs

Australia’s 1.2 million small businesses can look forward to relief from some costly and time consuming red tape through an innovative new Australian Government grants program, the Regulation Reduction Incentive Fund (RRIF), in partnership with Local Governments. The aim of RRIF is to foster the growth potential and sustainability of small business, in particular home-based businesses, by removing or amending unnecessary regulatory red tape and compliance impediments facing these groups.

Last December, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Fran Bailey announced that 31 successful applications involving more than 250 Local Government authorities would receive funding totalling $40.6 million to streamline and ease the compliance burden for small and home-based businesses. Among recipients is the Cairns City Council which will receive $7.1 million funding to work in partnership with 108 other councils across Australia to standardise the lodgement and assessment process for Development Applications.

Brisbane City Council has also been successful in obtaining funding of $9.7 million for two projects involving 18 councils in the South East Queensland region. One of these projects titled Regional Development Process Online aims to achieve consistency in the way the Development Application (DA) process is presented to the public and to reduce the overall time taken for DAs to be processed in councils. The second Brisbane City Council project titled Local Government Toolbox will allow local business to access clear and consistent information on compliance legislation for food hygiene, noise pollution and waste disposal.

Other grant recipients include Whittlesea City Council which will head a consortium of 29 Victorian Local Governments, in using its $6.2 million grant to establish an online expert system to help ease the burden of compliance procedures for small businesses. This project titled Ezybiz Online Business Regulation will extend the scope and scale of Whittlesea’s RRIF Demonstration project to incorporate up to an additional 50 regulatory process transactions which are of relevance to small businesses in Victoria’s rural, regional and metropolitan locations. These will include land management, health and food handling and safety, permits, planning and building compliance regulations.

A further grant recipient involves a consortium of five West Australian local authorities, led by the City of Swan, and will receive $495,810 to establish an online portal as a single point for builders to submit building licence and water connection applications at the same time. This project will leverage off the Western Australian Water Corporation’s BuilderNet system. The project will commence as a pilot application involving five West Australian Councils, Cities of Swan, Cockburn, Rockingham, Stirling and Wanneroo, and has the potential to benefit the entire community by providing quicker approval processes at a lower cost and with arguably greater transparency.

RRIF will be delivered by AusIndustry, a division of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. For more information on RRIF visit www.ausindustry.gov.au or email the Product Manager at rrif@industry.gov.au

AusIndustry delivers a range of more than 30 business products, including innovation grants, tax and duty concessions, small business services, and support for industry competitiveness worth nearly $2 billion each year to about 10,000 small and large businesses. To help customers with product and eligibility information, AusIndustry has customer service managers in 26 offices across Australia, a national hotline on 13 28 46 and website plus more than 60 Small Business Field Officers in regional areas.