Mr Abbott addressed Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's response to a letter sent to him regarding spying allegations. (AAP Image/David Crosling)
Mr Abbott addressed Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's response to a letter sent to him regarding spying allegations. (AAP Image/David Crosling) AAP - David Crosling

Abbott to burn 10,000 national laws in red tape bonfire

MORE than 10,000 national rules and laws will be put on the "biggest bonfire of regulations in our country's history", Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared today

The regulations, many of which were out-dated and redundant, will form part of the Abbott government's first "red tape repeal day" in parliament next Wednesday.

Business and industry groups have already largely welcomed the repeal actions, while the charities sector has lamented the expected abolition of its regulator.

Several repeal bills were introduced for initial debate, with Mr Abbott saying it was "too easy for officials to do their job at others' expense in the name of safety or accountability".

"Next week's repeal day will scrap more than 9500 unnecessary or counter-productive regulations and 1000 redundant acts of parliament," he said.

"More than 50,000 pages will disappear from the statute books."

To that end, the government introduced 12 new bills to the House on Wednesday, including a key "Omnibus Repeal Day Bill".

The changes will affect everything from film classification and aged care to consumer law and greenhouse gas management, in a bid to cut $1 billion of red tape every year under the Abbott Government.

But they will also spell the end of independent agencies, including the Australian Not-for-Profit and Charities Commission, the National Security Legislation Monitor and the Coordinator-General for Remote Indigenous Services.

The removal of the Coordinator-General role, created to help deliver services to Australia's most remote indigenous people, will save the government $7.1 million over three years.

Added protections for Murray Darling Basin water resources from mining operations that could result in subsidence above basin aquifers would also be removed under the bills.

The changes to the Water Act will remove a requirement to conduct an independent expert study of mining operations' impacts on the basin's water resources.

That repeal was proposed on the basis that a new water trigger in national environmental laws and an advisory committee created to scrutinise large coal mines and coal seam gas operations would do the job instead.

But despite Mr Abbott pledging earlier this week that all regulations would be subject to "regulation impact statements", which outline the impacts of changes to Commonwealth law, none of those introduced on Wednesday were subject to the added scrutiny.

The lack of scrutiny was due to the bills, as election commitments the Coalition made before it took office last September, are exempt from the need for an impact statement.


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