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Ian Campbell

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

27 November 2001 - 6 October 2003

Media Release of 05/02/2003

NO.004

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION TO REVIEW DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT

The Productivity Commission will review the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 as part of the Federal Government's commitment to assess all existing legislation under national competition policy principles.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Senator Ian Campbell, has asked that the review be completed within 12 months.

Senator Campbell said the Government was committed to ensuring that discrimination against people on the ground of disability was eliminated as far as possible and that they were able to participate in the community to the greatest possible extent.

"The review does not signal any change to the Government's policies of removing discrimination based on disability," he said. "Rather it is to assess whether any restrictions on competition in the Act produce benefits that exceed costs and therefore justify the restrictions.

"These reviews are an important element in ensuring regulation meets the interests of all the community."

The Competition Principles Agreement was signed by the Federal, State and Territory Governments in 1995. All Commonwealth legislation that restricts competition or imposes costs on business is being evaluated on the basis that it should be retained only if the benefits to the community as a whole outweigh the costs and if the legislation's objectives cannot be achieved more effectively through other means.

Senator Campbell said the Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello, had appointed Dr John Paterson AO as an Associate Commissioner to the inquiry.

Dr Paterson was formerly head of four agencies in the Victorian Public Service and Chair of the New South Wales Disabilities Advisory Council. "He brings extensive experience in providing high level policy analysis and advice to governments," Senator Campbell said.

The Productivity Commission will shortly release an issues paper and invite expressions of interest from anyone wanting to participate in the review. Senator Campbell encouraged all interested parties to make submissions to the Commission and attend public hearings.

CANBERRA
5 February 2003

Contact: Wayne Grant 02 6277 3955 or 0407 845 280

National Competition Policy Review of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION ACT 1998

    I, IAN CAMPBELL, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, under Parts 2 and 3 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998 and in accordance with the Commonwealth Government's Legislation Review Schedule, hereby refer the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Discrimination Regulations 1996 ("the legislation") to the Productivity Commission for inquiry and report within 12 months of the date of receipt of this reference. The Commission is to hold hearings for the purpose of the Inquiry.

2. The Productivity Commission is to report on the appropriate arrangements for regulation, taking into account the following:

      a) the social impacts in terms of costs and benefits that the legislation has had upon the community as a whole and people with disabilities, in particular its effectiveness in eliminating, as far as possible, discrimination on the ground of disability, ensuring equality between people with disabilities and others in the community, and promoting recognition and acceptance of the rights of people with disabilities;

      b) any parts of the legislation which restrict competition should be retained only if the benefits to the community as a whole outweigh the costs and if the objectives of the legislation can be achieved only through restricting competition;

      c) without limiting the matters that may be taken into account, in assessing the matters in (a) and (b), regard should be had, where relevant, to:

      i) social welfare and equity considerations, including those relating to people with disabilities, including community service obligations;

      ii) government legislation and policies relating to matters such as occupational health and safety, industrial relations, access and equity;

      iii) economic and regional development, including employment and investment growth;

      iv) the interests of consumers generally or of a class of consumers (including people with disabilities);

      v) the competitiveness of Australian business, including small business;

      vi) the efficient allocation of resources; and

      vii) government legislation and policies relating to ecologically sustainable development.

      d) the need to promote consistency between regulatory regimes and efficient regulatory administration, through improved coordination to eliminate unnecessary duplication;

      e) compliance costs and the paper work burden on small business should be reduced where feasible.

3. In making assessments in relation to the matters in (2) the Productivity Commission is to have regard to the analytical requirements for regulation assessment by the Commonwealth, including those set out in the Competition Principles Agreement and the Government's guidelines on regulation impact statements. The Report of the Productivity Commission should:

      a) identify the nature and magnitude of the social (including social welfare, access and equity matters), environmental or other economic problems that the legislation seeks to address;

      b) ascertain whether the objectives of the DDA are being met, including through analysis and, as far as reasonably practical, quantification of the benefits, costs and overall effects of the legislation upon people with disabilities, in particular its effectiveness in eliminating, as far as possible, discrimination on the ground of disability, ensuring equality between people with disabilities and others in the community, and promoting recognition and acceptance of the rights of people with disabilities;

      c) identify whether, and to what extent, the legislation restricts competition;

      d) identify relevant alternatives to the legislation, including non-legislative approaches;

      e) analyse and, as far as reasonably practical, quantify the benefits, costs and overall effects of the alternatives identified in (d), including on, or in relation to, people with disabilities.

      f) identify the different groups likely to be affected by the legislation and alternatives;

      g) list the individuals and groups consulted during the review and outline their views, or reasons why consultation was inappropriate;

      h) determine a preferred option for regulation, if any, in light of the factors set out in (2); and

      i) examine mechanisms for increasing the overall efficiency of the legislation, including minimising the compliance costs and paper burden on small business, and, where it differs, the preferred option.

4. In undertaking the review, the Productivity Commission is to advertise nationally, consult with State and Territory Governments, key interest groups and affected parties (in particular, people with disabilities and their representatives) invite submissions from the public, and publish a draft report. To facilitate participation by people with disabilities, the Productivity Commission is to ensure that all hearings are held at accessible venues and that documentation and information distributed during the consultative and review processes including the draft and final reports, are available in accessible formats.

5. In undertaking the review and preparing its final report and associated recommendations, the Productivity Commission is to note the Government's intention to release the report and announce its responses to the review recommendations as soon as possible, with the response to be prepared by appropriate Ministers, including the Attorney-General.

IAN CAMPBELL