Australian Government Consultation Requirements
- Continuity - consultation should be a continuous process that starts early in the policy development process.
- Targeting - consultation should be widely based to ensure it captures the diversity of stakeholders affected by the proposed changes. This includes State, Territory and local governments, as appropriate, and relevant Commonwealth departments and agencies
- Timeliness - consultation should start when policy objectives and options are being identified. Throughout the consultation process stakeholders should be given sufficient time to provide considered responses.
- Accessibility - stakeholder groups should be informed of proposed consultation, and be provided with information about proposals, via a range of means appropriate to those groups.
- Transparency - policy agencies need to explain clearly the objectives of the consultation process, the regulation policy framework within which consultations will take place and provide feedback on how they have taken consultation responses into consideration.
- Consistency and flexibility - consistent consultation procedures can make it easier for stakeholders to participate. However, this must be balanced with the need for consultation arrangements to be designed to suit the circumstances of the particular proposal under consideration.
- Evaluation and review - policy agencies should evaluate consultation processes and continue to examine ways of making them more effective.
The application of the whole-of-government consultation principles and guidance on a consultation strategy are discussed in appendix C of the Best Practice Regulation Handbook. The nature of consultation should be commensurate with the potential impact of the problem and proposed regulatory solution.
If you need guidance in relation to a specific policy proposal please contact the OBPR.
Annual Regulatory Plans
Departments and agencies responsible for regulatory changes that may have a significant impact on business are required to prepare and publish an Annual Regulatory Plan in July each year. They should be continuously updated.
These plans provide business and the community with information about planned changes to Australian Government regulation, and make it easier for business to take part in the development of regulation that is likely to affect them.
The plans contain information about:
- changes to business regulation which have occurred since the beginning of the previous financial year, and
- proposed regulatory activity, including a description of the issue, information about the consultation strategy, an expected timetable and contact details.
Annual Regulatory Plans are published on the website of each agency, and are linked to the business consultation website which aims to make consultation more effective. It is up to individual agencies to manage the coordination and publication of Annual Regulatory Plans within their portfolios.
The Annual Regulatory Plan guidelines provide more information for departments and agencies in preparing their plans.
Business Consultation Website
A business consultation website  has been established by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research to:
- enable registration of relevant stakeholders prepared to be consulted on particular regulations;
- automatically notify stakeholders, including businesses and Government agencies, of consultation processes in areas where they have registered an interest;
- provide information on the Government's public consultation objectives and policies;
- provide links to current and past consultation processes; and
- include information about new and upcoming changes to regulation.
Consulting on and analysing the implementation options is an important part of policy development. Prior to finalisation, the details of complex regulations should be tested with relevant businesses. Releasing exposure drafts of complex regulations for significant matters is one approach departments and agencies can use to allow businesses and other stakeholders to provide more detailed comments and advice on how a regulation will work in practice.
Contact for information on this page: OBPR contacts page