Date posted: December 19, 2014

Head shot Mark
Deregulation and red tape are terms bandied around by media, government and some industry associations. But what do they really mean?

Red tape is regulation that is unnecessary or burdensome. Deregulation is about reducing red tape and aims to make it easier for individuals, businesses and community organisations to comply with regulations and laws.

For real red tape reductions, the sort that improves the business environment and makes your life easier, government needs to hear from you and be told about the key regulatory issues you face.

When I meet with businesses and industry associations I often ask about the red tape affecting their business and industry sector. Relevant examples are fed back to government to influence change. Unfortunately, many find it difficult to articulate examples of red tape.

In articulating examples, the first question to ask is “why?”

  • Why is the regulation in place?
  • Why is there paperwork to comply with?

If there isn’t a reasonable answer to the “why” question then let government know, they may be able to do something about it.

Another approach to red tape reduction is to identify which government agencies you need to have contact with and then look at how to reduce the amount of contact.

For example, if one of your business licences has to be renewed annually, could this be done every three or five years instead? Or, if you have to deal with the same government agency for multiple things, could these all be done in one go?

If you have any examples of red tape that you think should be addressed you can report it at or email my Office at


Mr Mark Brennan
Small Business Commissioner