Australian Government - Department of Health - Office of Hearing Services
Hearing Services Program

The Department of Health's Cutting Red Tape Fact Sheet

The Australian Government is committed to boosting productivity and cutting red tape by $1 billion a year. All government agencies, including regulators, are being supported to review and reduce regulatory burden on individuals, businesses and community organisations.

What is Regulation?                 

Regulation is any rule, endorsed by Government, where there is an expectation of compliance on an individual, business and/or community organisation. Examples of regulation or quasi-legislation include legislation, standards, codes, contracts, forms, records keeping and reporting requirements.

Effective regulation is an essential part of well-functioning economies and supports the achievement of economic, social or environmental protections. However, inefficient and poorly designed regulation places unnecessary costs on business which can negatively impact on productivity. It is important to find the right balance, taking account of the associated benefits and risks.

Collaboration – The Key to Cutting Red Tape

The Government’s deregulation agenda provides an opportunity for Government and business to work together to review, update, simplify or remove unnecessary red tape. Consultation with stakeholders is key to achieving red tape reductions by ensuring effective solutions are identified and prioritised, assumptions are validated, and solutions are appropriate to the risk and issue.

How will cutting red tape help my business?

Deregulation aims to eliminate inefficiencies and unnecessary regulation, reducing the burden on business. Significant progress has already been made. The Government has already established two legislation repeal dates per year, to support the removal or amendment of unnecessary legislation. No new regulation can be imposed without clear analysis of the impacts on business and must be matched by equivalent savings in regulatory activity.

Best practice regulation and cutting red tape is in everyone’s best interest. Cutting red tape can have many benefits for business, including

  • lowering administration costs and eliminating unnecessary forms and paperwork
  • reducing time needed for training staff in processes
  • freeing up staff to work on core business tasks
  • reducing time delays waiting for approvals
  • removing requirements to purchase specific or unnecessary equipment or assets and
  • reducing the reliance on external expertise such as lawyers, accountants etc.

Hearing Services Program

The Department of Health (the Department) is committed to working with hearing service providers, device manufacturers and other relevant stakeholders to consider options for reducing the regulatory burden associated with participating in the Hearing Services Program (the program). This includes collectively identifying ways to reduce paperwork, red tape and the administrative processes related to participating in the program. A focus for the Department is aligning the program with the principles of good practice regulation.
 

What has been achieved to date?

Regulatory Stocktake

A 2012 review of the regulatory framework supporting the voucher component of the program found it to be complex and identified a number of opportunities to modernise and simplify arrangements. In 2014 the Department completed a stocktake of the regulations and processes that stakeholders were required to comply with.

Consultation

Since 2012, consultation has been ongoing with stakeholders to identify and prioritise potential areas for improvement. Consultation will be an ongoing activity, to incorporate input from business and other stakeholders in identifying ways to reduce regulatory burden and suggestions on how we can all ensure best practice regulation.

Implementation of the Hearing Services Online portal

The online portal has replaced a range of paper forms and manual processes reducing the burden, costs and delays experienced by hearing service providers. Hearing service providers can now manage their own site information, access and manage client information without calling the Department, and support clients to apply for the program online, thereby reducing the waiting times for clients to receive services. The Department continues to work with stakeholders to find other ways to generate efficiencies using information technology.

Costing the burden of regulation

To support the deregulation agenda, the program is required to cost the burden of complying with program related regulation. Continued liaison with hearing service providers will occur to cost key activities associated with participating in the program and to obtain feedback and ideas about how we can all contribute to best practice regulation.

Ongoing reform

The Department will consult with hearing service providers on identified opportunities for reducing red tape. Cost benefit analysis will be undertaken when reviewing proposed changes, and steps will be implemented, where appropriate, to remove unnecessary regulation, while ensuring stakeholders are kept informed.

Contributing to Cutting Red Tape

You can contribute to cutting red tape by emailing your ideas and feedback to hearing@health.gov.au

Updates about the Department’s work on cutting red tape will be made available on the program’s website www.hearingservices.gov.au and through notices to hearing service providers.

You can find out more about the Government’s efforts to cut red tape by visiting

Cutting Red Tape (PDF 113 KB)

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