Signing documents
Signing documents

The $100b bill costing Gladstone businesses

EXCESSIVE red tape could be costing the economy as much as $100 billion a year, with most Gladstone businesses finding compliance costs had risen in the past two years.

The findings are part of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland's 2017 Red Tape Survey, 48% of businesses saying regulatory burdens were stymieing growth.

One-third (34%) of the 500 respondents were spending more than six hours a week dealing with red tape. It was 44% in 2015.

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However, another 41.3% were spending between one and five hours dealing with regulations. This was up from 38% in 2015.

Small businesses were heavily impacted, with seven in 10 forced to divert employees from core duties to deal with red tape. Most of these, 85%, were small business owners who "do not have the capacity to hire additional staff to manage the regulatory burden", the survey found.

CCIQ advocacy boss Kate Whittle said she understood certain regulations were a necessary part of business but that Queensland was "one of Australia's most regulated states".

"It is critical that government departments continue to find ways to remove unnecessary regulation," Ms Whittle said. "However, in order to do this, government needs to be made aware of the incidents of over-regulation by businesses themselves."

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A 2014 Deloitte Access report found businesses were spending $67 billion a year to comply with regulatory hurdles, with CCIQ estimating that figure had probably surpassed $100 billion after 50.6% of respondents found those costs had increased in the past two years.

CCIQ has made 11 recommendations, including for governments to set a 25% red tape reduction target every year, with enforced reporting.