Joint Media Release - Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor and Shadow Attorney General Michaelia Cash - Labor must act to stop red tape harm to economy

Monday, 22 January 2024

The findings of the Australian Law Reform Commission Report (‘ALRC’) Confronting Complexity: Reforming Corporations and Financial Services Legislation must be urgently addressed by the Albanese Government.

The ALRC is clear: Australia’s corporations law is too complex and too long, which is harming our economy. This leaves consumers unsure of their rights, prevents investment, and is anti-competitive for Australia’s 3.6 million small businesses.

With Australia’s productivity performance trailing the G20 league table, it is essential that any government that claims to be serious about reducing prices, increasing competition, and improving productivity performance seriously consider the recommendations of the ALRC. 

With the IMF’s latest Article IV report on Australia highlighting the need for less government spending and more economic reform, the Coalition is calling on the government to deliver a formal response to this damning report into Australia’s corporate law framework. 

The former Coalition government left the Labor government the building blocks of a productivity roadmap, between the five year Productivity Commission review “Advancing Prosperity”, the Quality of Advice Review, and the ALRC "Confronting Complexity” review.

Instead of sitting on the shelf collecting dust, it is critical these reports be read, responded to, and embraced by the government. Instead, Labor spends more time spinning than it does delivering.

Labor has failed to meaningly progress policy responses to the Productivity Commission review, and spent over a year delaying action on the Quality of Advice review.

Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor said this report highlighted the growing cost of regulatory complexity on the economy.

“Under Labor we are seeing more laws, more regulations, and more taxes at a time the economy is grinding to a halt.

“Labor has no plan to grow the economy, only to entrench inflation, slow growth, and drive up costs for businesses and households.

“This report is a critical insight into the cost of bad laws to Australians: driving up the cost of doing business in Australia, and as a result, the cost of living in Australia.

“Australian consumers pay the price for these confusing, complex laws every day, whether it be on their bills or when dealing with big business bureaucracies.

“If Labor is serious about boosting productivity and competition in this country, they must deliver a formal response to this review’s recommendations. But when we look at this government’s track record on workplace and competition laws, it seems they have no interest in coming up with practical solutions to the cost-of-living crisis.”

Shadow Attorney General Michaelia Cash said Labor’s release of the ALRC’s report comes after two months of obstruction, with the Attorney-General refusing to release it after the Senate voted for its production in December.

“The Albanese Labor Government is no friend of business in Australia.

“Labor’s industrial relations laws adding even more red tape on Australian businesses and employers, which is seriously hurting competition.

“We’re seeing this play out right now with Industry Minister Tony Burke’s extraordinary decision to take the Maritime Union’s side in the dispute with DP World.

“Labor must give a formal response to this report, in order to reduce confusion and to support customers.”

The Coalition will closely review the report as part of our commitment to support consumers, reduce red tape, and lower the cost of doing business in Australia.