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The Victorian Regulatory System (VRS) continues to build on knowledge gained from previous editions to develop a more comprehensive publication. The approach adopted and issues relating to interpretations and methodology are explained in this chapter.
Scope of report
As discussed in chapter 1, this report is intended to be a guide to the Victorian Government entities that have substantial regulatory roles relating to businesses. Using the definition of a business regulator outlined in box 1.1, the VCEC has collated information on 59 Victorian regulatory units whose activities affect Victorian businesses, other private sector entities (such as private schools, not-for-profits and hospitals) and particular occupations that operated in 2011-12.
Aside from the Council of Legal Education (which has been included for the first time) all of the regulators included in this report have provided information in past editions of the VRS. These regulators have been identified from: reviews of legislation; the VCEC’s public inquiries and analysis of new regulatory proposals; annual reports of government departments and agencies; and consultation within government. In some cases, a single regulator has provided information on multiple regulatory units. The Department of Health has, like previous years, been treated as a single business regulator but has reported information separately for each of its 11 regulatory units. Data has been presented at a disaggregated level in the Excel spreadsheet that accompanies this report. In addition, information on the Building Commission, Plumbing Industry Commission and the Architects Registration Board are presented separately, as those regulators were operating separately during 2011-12. Future editions of the VRS will report the Victorian Building Authority as a single regulator. As in previous years, a number of entities are excluded from the report, including courts and tribunals as well as the following organisations.
Local councils — Victoria’s 79 local councils play an integral role in administering and enforcing a broad range of State regulations, among other functions. Each council undertakes essentially the same regulatory task and is structured similarly. As a result, councils are not included in this report, which was designed in part to improve the understanding of differences in process and governance across Victorian Government regulators.
Water industry entities — Victoria has 16 active water corporations (former water authorities) serving Melbourne and regional Victoria, which perform regulatory functions prescribed by the Water Industry Act 1994 (Vic) and other Acts. These functions include granting bore construction licences, as well as the primary roles of service delivery and management of water infrastructure. There are also 10 catchment management authorities, which are responsible for ensuring the sustainable use and management of land and water resources. Catchment management authorities use some regulatory instruments, such as authorising permits, to achieve these goals. Like local councils, each catchment management authority undertakes essentially the same regulatory task. Other significant aspects of water regulation are conducted by agencies covered in the report. The Essential
Services Commission regulates price and service quality aspects of the water industry; the EPA Victoria sets and regulates environmental standards and performance; and the Safe drinking water unit of the Department of Health is responsible for managing the regulation of drinking water quality.
Organisations external to government with delegated powers — a number of entities have regulatory powers, assigned either in legislation or through a delegation from the relevant regulator. These entities are not included in this report because they are not formally part of the State Government. They include the Law Institute of Victoria, the RSPCA and the Energy and Water Ombudsman.
Third-party auditors — compliance with some regulations is monitored by accredited third party auditors, external to the regulator. Inspections of premises to ensure correct food safety processes and assessments of a new home’s energy rating are two areas where this occurs.
Commonwealth Government —The VCEC has, in this and previous reports, referred to information from the Productivity Commission that approximately 60 Commonwealth Government departments and agencies, as well as 40 national standard-setting bodies and ministerial councils, have the power to prepare or administer regulations (VCEC 2006) and will have some impact on Victorian businesses. National regulators were outside the scope of this report.
Interstate regulators — Victorian businesses can be affected by regulations of other Australian states and territories. This is particularly the case in border regions, where overlapping jurisdictions can create an extra layer of complexity.
There are other entities which have not been included where regulatory functions are a small part of their work and which seem to place a limited burden on business — for example, the regulatory functions of bodies such as the Royal Botanical Gardens Board. In addition, regulators that focus exclusively on regulating public or government activities (including contract management) as opposed to business activity — such as the Victorian Electoral Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman — are not included. As discussed in chapter 1, there has been a reduction in the number of regulators reported in this edition of the VRS. Table 2.1 outlines the changes to regulators reported in this edition of the VRS, relative to the previous edition.
Changes to regulators from the 2011 edition of the VRS Regulator
Merged with other Department of Environment Animal Standards Unit and Primary Industries (DEPI) regulators to form the Animal, Chemical and Plant Standards Branch Merged with another regulator(s)
Chemical Standards Branch
Regulatory functions have been divided between the newly formed DEPI regulators, the Animal, Chemical and Plant Standards Branch and the Plant, Biosecurity and Product Integrity Branch
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Natural Resources, Parks and Forests
Merged with other DEPI regulators to form Land, Fire, Environment, Water and Natural Resources Branch
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Plant Standards Branch
Regulatory functions have been divided between the newly formed DEPI Animal, Chemical and Plant Standards Branch and the Plant, Biosecurity and Product Integrity Branch
Merged with the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation to form the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
Victorian Commission Merged with Liquor Licencing to form the for Gambling Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation Regulation
No longer has a regulatory Sustainability Victoria function
No longer exists
Some regulatory functions have been removed and is now responsible for regulating the employment of children aged under 15 and administering workplace legislation in relation to long service leave. Reported as the Employment Information and Compliance Unit. Previously responsible for accrediting energy assessors, this function has now moved to the Commonwealth Government Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme.
Victorian Skills Commission
Organisation no longer exists. Regulatory functions have been transferred to Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority
Twelve former statebased health boards
Responsibility for the registration and accreditation of medical professions has been transferred to a national regulator, the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority
Land, Fire, Environment, Water and Natural Resource Regulation and Compliance Previously part of the Department of Sustainability and Environment, now operating as Bureau of Animal part of the DEPI Welfare Fisheries Victoria Changed reporting department
Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity Aboriginal Affairs Victoria
Previously part of the Department of Planning and Community Development, now operating as part of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Earth Resources Regulation Branch
Previously part of the Department of Primary Industries, now operating as part of the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.
Employment Information and Compliance Unit
Previously part of the Department of Treasury and Finance, now operating as part of the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.
Source: Commission analysis
The report continues to build on previous editions, developing a more thorough understanding of Victoria’s regulators and the regulations that they administer. Table 2.2 provides an overview of information reported across editions of the VRS.
Information reported across editions of The Victorian Regulatory System Data
New Information requested for this edition Information on Ministerial statements of expectations
Information relating to the provision and utilisation of online access to registration and licencing processes
Information in previous editions Review mechanisms for regulatory decisions
Performance evaluation and audit information
Interstate agencies/regulators with similar responsibilities or functions
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
Information on mutual recognition of licences
Information on policy functions
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
Information on agreements with supporting staff
Mandatory insurance requirements
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
Source: Commission analysis
Several fields have been removed from this edition of the VRS compared with previous editions. This was largely done to streamline the reporting process for regulators (see Section 2.2) and to reduce the size of the publication. Those fields which were removed were done so with consideration of the degree to which survey responses had changed across editions and the relevance of the data to the Government’s reducing the regulatory burden initiatives. Information on these fields is available in the excel spreadsheet that accompanies previous editions.
The VCEC collected the information contained in this report between April 2013 and July 2013. The process involved four steps. (1) Identifying the information required, with a focus on information that was likely to be publicly available from a range of sources; for example, annual reports and websites of regulators and the State Government directory. (2) Collating the information for each regulator. The VCEC was mindful of the need to minimise its burden on the participating regulators, particularly the smaller entities, and completed (as far as possible) a draft entry for each regulator from publicly available information. Each regulator was then asked to fill in information that had not been found from public sources and to confirm the accuracy of data collated by the VCEC.
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(3) Editing and standardising individual entries. Each entry was returned to the relevant regulator to allow them to correct errors and provide a final sign-off. (4) Producing an overview and the release of this report. All of the 59 regulators responded at either stage (2) or (3). Legislative data were chiefly obtained from the Victorian Legislative and Parliamentary Documents website (www.legislation.vic.gov.au). Data relating to permits, licences, etc. came from previous editions of the VRS, and directly from regulators.
Glossary of terms — a number of terms have been interpreted in a common way by the VCEC and appear in the attached glossary of definitions in chapter 3. Interpreting missing data — a consistent notation has been applied to explain missing data: not applicable; not available; not recorded; or not supplied. These interpretations are provided in the glossary. Expenditure totals — the expenditure totals should include, where possible, estimates of overhead costs and direct staff costs. Totals refer to the organisation as a whole and are not limited to the area responsible for regulatory functions (unless otherwise stated). Acts and Regulations — included in this report are all Acts and Regulations administered by each regulatory body as at 30 June 2013. This includes all Acts ‘assented to’ and all Regulations ‘made’ as at 1 January 2013. Some Acts and Regulations are included that do not have a regulatory function and/or only affect private individuals. Page numbers of Acts and sets of Regulations — data were collected from the Victorian Legislative and Parliamentary Documents website (www.legislation.vic.gov.au) to determine the aggregate number of, and net change in, pages of all Acts and sets of Regulations included in each regulator’s entry. The version of each Act and set of Regulations current at 1 January 2011 and 30 June 2013 were viewed and the page number of the last page of the PDF version of each document recorded. Each Act and set of Regulations was counted once, even when an Act or set of Regulations was included in more than one regulator’s entry (for example, the Transport Integration Act 2010 (Vic), which is administered by VicRoads, Victorian Taxi Directorate and Transport Safety Victoria). For each set of Regulations the sunsetting date was recorded from the version of the document current at 30 June 2013. Details are available in the Excel spreadsheet that accompanies this report. This spreadsheet contains Acts and Regulations that were either active or repealed during the time that the survey was run. Variation between data in report entries and spreadsheet — this report includes a detailed entry on the functions and structure of each regulatory body. The data from each entry were collated into a spreadsheet that is available on the VCEC’s website. In some cases the VCEC aggregated the information provided in the regulator entry and included a comment in the spreadsheet denoting where this happened. In other cases, the terminology in the spreadsheet has been altered from the regulators’ entries, for instance, to allow aggregation and comparison. For example, where an entry states that permit requirements are set by a Board or Authority, the spreadsheet records the common term ‘Regulator’, which is consistent across entries. Where the spreadsheet
differs from a regulator’s entry, the relevant cell contains a comment stating the original response. Timeliness information reported by regulators included, for example, ‘28 days’; ‘one month’; ‘3-4 weeks’. To enable the VCEC to compare data, the spreadsheet recorded the maximum number of days (for example, in the case of ‘3-4 weeks’, the spreadsheet records 28 days). Thirty days was used as a proxy for one month. For simplicity, business days versus non-working days were not differentiated in the spreadsheet, given that most regulators did not specify whether the time reported excluded non-working days. Where the spreadsheet differs from a regulator’s entry, the relevant cell contains a comment stating the original response.
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