House of Representatives

Statute Update (Smaller Government) Bill 2017

Second Reading Speech

Mr McCORMACK (Riverina-Minister for Small Business)

I move:

The Statute Update (Smaller Government) Bill 2017 amends eight acts and makes consequential amendments to four other acts across the Commonwealth to support the implementation of the government's smaller government agenda by abolishing seven Commonwealth bodies:

the Central Trades Committee;
the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council;
the Product Stewardship Advisory Group;
the Advisory Group of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority;
the Plant Breeder' s Rights Advisory Committee;
the Development Allowance Authority; and
the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee.

The bill follows on from a series of government decisions relating to the abolition of a number of bodies announced in earlier tranches of the smaller government agenda.

One of the key commitments of the government is to reduce the size of government and to ensure that government services are as efficient and well targeted as possible.

Decisions to abolish unnecessary advisory bodies and boards, agencies and statutory bodies were initially implemented following the 2014-15 budget. These decisions were followed by a number of smaller government initiatives announced as part of subsequent budgets.

Consistent with the smaller government agenda the Australian government governance policy came into effect on 15 December 2014. This policy was designed to prevent the creation of unnecessary bureaucratic structures and ensure government structures are streamlined further over time. This policy also requires sunset or review dates to be set for new Commonwealth bodies.

The smaller government agenda forms part of the government's methodical ongoing effort to deliver a smaller and more rational government footprint. While many of the decisions taken under the smaller government agenda preserve the delivery of the range of services they seek to ensure that overly bureaucratic structures are simplified wherever and whenever possible. This has meant consolidating functions in government departments or smaller bodies into larger entities to enhance lines of accountability.

By the time of the 2016-17 budget the smaller government agenda had announced savings of an estimated $1.5 billion.

The 2017-18 budget also focused on transforming the way services are delivered and how government operates to create a smaller, smarter and more productive, sustainable public sector, better positioned to respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing environment and the continued need for fiscal discipline.

Since 2013, initiatives such as the smaller government agenda, contestability, Operation Tetris, and the efficiency dividends have generated efficiencies of around $7.6 billion in savings. The size of the general government sector (the GGS) has also reduced.

The bill continues to deliver on the government's comprehensive package of smaller government reforms, designed to cut waste and duplication, whilst improving the efficiency and focus of the Commonwealth public service.

The bill has been prepared in consultation with affected Commonwealth entities and where relevant state consultations have also taken place.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.