By Aimee Chanthadavong

A report released by the Productivity Commission said regulators need to do more to reduce red tape that is imposed on small businesses.

In the final version of the Regulator Engagement with Small Business report, the Commission argued understanding how regulation impact small businesses should be at the forefront of their minds when administrating regulation.

“A regulator's culture and attitude towards business can be as important as the content of the regulation itself. There is still significant scope for improvement in the way regulators engage with small businesses” said commissioner Warren Mundy.

The Commission found that leading practices in regulator engagement with small business were more commonly adopted by regulators that have implemented a risk based approach. A stronger focus on risk was found to limit unnecessary intrusion on lower risk small businesses, free up resources to improve frontline guidance and advice services and enable them to more effectively address higher risks to communities.

The Commission also found that regulators with effective risk based engagement policies and procedures were more likely to be better resourced and to have senior leadership that invests in, and fosters, a business focused culture among their staff.

As a result, the report has proposed that regulators across all level of government to adopt a multi-channel approach to communicating with small businesses; commit publicly to target timeframes for key processes; and have access to a sufficient range of enforcement tools and be resourced to do their job effectively.

NSW Small Business Commissioner Yasmin King welcomed the report saying, “I strongly encourage regulators to take the recommendations in this report on board and adapt their processes to be more small business friendly wherever possible.

 “This report shows that regulators need to encourage everyone in their organisation – from top to bottom – to think about how their policies and actions impact on small business.”