What is the Government doing in regulation?

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The Government is continuing to ensure that regulatory frameworks across all areas of the modern economy are fit-for-purpose. This includes key regulatory reforms in telecommunications, and data sharing and privacy that are mentioned in the Infrastructure and Data sections of this agenda.

Below is a summary of major government work on getting regulatory settings correct; for a list of all government initiatives, refer to Australia’s Tech Future website.

Improving the quality of regulation

The Government is continuously improving the quality of its regulation, including minimising the regulation on businesses, community organisations and individuals. The Deregulation Agenda established in 2013 has put in place frameworks to help ensure regulatory regimes remain fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Harmonising Australian regulations and standards

The Government encourages and supports Australia’s states and territories to adopt, or recognise as equivalent, each other’s regulations and standards. This lowers the costs for businesses. It also promotes innovation and growth. One-third of the 5,600 Australian Standards are referenced in Commonwealth, state and territory regulation.

The Government will continue the ongoing effort to ensure that Australia has the right regulatory environment to enable legislation that is ‘digital ready’.

Implementing Australia’s Trade Modernisation Agenda

The Government’s Trade Modernisation Agenda is supporting businesses, particularly micro and small businesses, to engage and compete on a global scale. This 10-year agenda will transform and simplify Australia’s international supply chain, and will provide businesses with a single window for international trade.

The Government has mature artificial intelligence capabilities to support visa application assessment functions and is exploring how blockchain distributed ledger technology could be integrated into Australia’s trade ecosystem.

Shaping international standards and digital trade rules

International standards and digital trade rules are important for maximising the benefits for Australian businesses in the modern economy (read more in the Digital Trade Chapter of Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy).

Australia is at the forefront of shaping international rules and standards through many channels including:

  • the World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • free trade agreements
  • the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum
  • the G20
  • the OECD.

Australia’s Leadership on International Digital Trade Rules and Standards

For example, the Government is working:

  • to update international trade rules on e-commerce through the WTO and Australia’s FTAs to ensure they keep pace with technological change, including as part of the WTO Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce to build trust and confidence in the online marketplace and ensure effective protection for personal information
  • with ASEAN Member States to develop, adopt and use international standards that promote digital trade and support inclusive economic growth in the region (the ASEAN–Australia Digital Trade Standards initiative was announced in March 2018)

Leading the development of international Blockchain standards

Good industry standards for blockchain technology are critical to fostering an innovative and competitive environment and establishing market confidence in the technology.

Australia is leading the development of new international standards for blockchain technologies.

The Government is also supporting research to better understand the technological and legal risks associated with blockchain. An industry led Blockchain Roadmap will outline how blockchain technologies can be used to investment opportunities for Australia.

Reviewing Australia’s corporate tax system for the digital economy

The Government is working to address the challenges the digital economy presents to the tax system. Much of the current international tax framework was developed in the 1920s, and is based on the location of physical assets and income sources. We now live in a world where businesses operate in a global market that is increasingly digital – they may not even have a physical office or staff here in Australia.

The Government is consulting broadly and exploring options to move towards a fairer and more sustainable tax system that address the way that digital technology is transforming our economy.