Abbott's push to reduce red tape by $1 billion per year
THE Abbott Government's election commitments will not be subject to the rigorous analysis of other government policies, despite Prime Minister Tony Abbott's pledge he would "not regulate without counting the cost" on Monday.
Mr Abbott and his Parliamentary Secretary Josh Frydenberg today released a website and a guide for Commonwealth public servants to assess all government policies.
A key part of the Abbott Government's agenda, it directs public servants only to use regulations as a "last resort", amid Mr Abbott's push to reduce red tape imposts by $1 billion each year.
It mandates regulatory impact statements (RIS) of all federal policies, including analysis of how new laws or removing existing laws could affect businesses and households.
Mr Abbott on Monday said the public service culture "is now changed" and that the government did not think it possible "to eliminate all risk".
"So, every regulation however worthy the purpose has a cost and far too often the cost hasn't been sufficiently counted in recent times," Mr Abbott said.
"We will not regulate without counting the cost and very often the cost will be far too high."
But the guide reveals numerous exceptions to the rule of a rigorous analysis, including exempting the Coalition's election commitments from analysis of "a range of policy options".
"A RIS covering matters which were the subject of an election commitment will not be required to consider a range of policy options," the document reads.
"Only the specific election commitment need be the subject of regulatory impact assessment and in this situation, the focus should be on the commitment and the manner in which the commitment should be implemented."
While Mr Abbott said his controversial, $5.5 billion paid parental leave policy would be assessed under the new rules, that proposal would be one of those exempted under the clause.
The guide also allows "special cases" exemptions for any policy that is the subject of an independent review, and "revenue-raising and protection measures", such as new taxes or changes to levies.
"A RIS dealing with a measure to protect the integrity of an expenditure programme does not need to consider how it is funded or how any savings might be used," the guide reads.
The rules will allow exemptions for all of the government's promises made before the election, despite the guide saying that "every good RIS will canvass a range of viable options".