COAG urged to pay attention to national regulations

BCA urges COAG to refocus its reform agenda, warning that national transport regulations are "slipping" due to heavy workload

COAG urged to pay attention to national regulations
COAG urged to pay attention to national regs
By Brad Gardner | September 22, 2010

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is being urged to recast its reform priorities over warnings national transport regulations are "slipping" due to an overloaded agenda.

Following the release of a progress report on COAG reforms, the Business Council of Australia claims the government body must change course because it "has too much on its plate".

COAG’s agenda includes education, transport regulations, capital city planning, health and workforce issues.

BCA spokesman Scott Thompson says COAG needs to focus on reforms that can deliver major productivity gains, adding that harmonisation of wine labels is not as important as ending cross-border inconsistencies.

"The problem is the program is slipping…COAG probably has too much on its plate," Thompson says.

BCA CEO Katie Lahey says COAG’s policy priorities should be the establishment of a seamless national economy, a national freight system, major cities planning, education and training and e-health.

"The agenda needs to have a sharper focus on a smaller number of reform priorities with the greatest potential to drive productivity growth in the near term," Lahey says.

"The BCA has recommended to the new government that one of its priorities for the first 100 days in office should be to convene a meeting of COAG to reset the COAG agenda."

The progress report cited planning and performance problems and found COAG was unclear on how its reform agenda would achieve its objectives.

Australian Logistics Council CEO Michael Kilgariff earlier this month warned there were signs transport reforms were in danger of stalling without strong national leadership.

He urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to focus on the issue.

"National reform is a bit like riding a bike; if one stops pedalling and pushing, the thing falls over and goes nowhere."

Governments have agreed to introduce national truck regulations in 2013. The system will be overseen by a heavy vehicle regulator based in Queensland with offices nationwide.

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