COAG Consultation Guidelines
In line with the principles for good regulatory process, effective consultation with affected key stakeholders should occur at all stages of the regulatory cycle. COAG is committed to improving mechanisms for consultation with business and supporting appropriate consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
COAG has endorsed a set of consultation guidelines which have been incorporated into the COAG best practice regulation guide at appendix F. The consultation guidelines apply to COAG itself, Ministerial Councils, national standard-setting bodies or related bodies.
COAG requires these consultation guidelines to be applied to all significant initiatives and cover all aspects of developing regulation: from the policy proposals/‘ideas’ stage through to post-implementation reviews. The nature and extent of consultation should be commensurate with the potential magnitude of the problem and impact of proposed regulatory and non-regulatory solutions.
The seven principles for best practice consultation are outlined below:
- 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 Commonwealth, State, Territory and local governments, as appropriate.
- Appropriate 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 — Ministerial Councils 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.
It is expected that the level of analysis in a Consultation (draft) RIS would be lower than the level of analysis in the (final) RIS for the decision maker. This is because the impacts of options are sometimes unclear. The community consultation process is designed to allow interested parties and stakeholders to help identify such impacts.
While a Consultation RIS (assessed as adequate by the OBPR) is required to be made public, various consultation mechanisms can be used that are consistent with these principles such as Annual Regulatory Plans, business consultation portals and the use of policy options papers (‘green papers’) and exposure drafts for matters of major significance. See the Australian Government consultation mechanisms for more information.
Contact for information on this page: OBPR contacts page