Hockey lashes 'culture of regulation'

By a staff reporter

Shadow Treasuer Joe Hockey has hit out at Australia's "culture of regulation" and said the coalition would place the needs of small business at the centre of its regulation policies.

In an interview with Business Spectator, Mr Hockey said the exorbitant increase in regulations over the past five years had changed the nature of engagement between the public and private sector.

"A lot of regulation, particularly out of Treasury agencies like ASIC and the ACCC and some others, that has focussed on...designing regulation for big business, for the businesses that can get in the door in Canberra, for the businesses that have enormous legal departments and compliance departments and human resources departments and so on, whereas a small business in Australia doesn’t have all of that.  

"And therefore the benchmark for regulation should be a small business and not a big business for the generic business regulation in Australia."

Mr Hockey conceded the Coalition had been "as guilty as Labor on this".

He said Tony Abbott's announcement he would move small business into the Treasury portfolio was emblematic of the party's commitment to addressing over-regulation, though he did not commit to removing Martin Parkinson as Treasury Secretary.

"Well, I’m reluctant to, I must say, because ultimately the forecasts that are published belong to the Treasurer," Mr Hockey said.

"His name was on the front of the document and the Minister for Finance."

While non-commital on action within the first six months of a coalition government, Mr Hockey said within a first-term the coalition would review the competition rules, with a focus on  equality of opportunity for small business.

"So, that will be part of the more general review into the competition laws," he said.