Australian Embassy
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Km 4, Thadeua Road, Watnak (P.O. Box 292)

Private Sector Awareness Workshop

Private Sector Awareness Workshop
Implementing Regulatory Impact Assessment in the Lao PDR

The Importance of Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) to Economic Development – an Australian Perspective

H.E. Professor Ket Kiettisak, Vice Minister of Justice, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for the opportunity to join you this morning.

There is a healthy cynicism in broader Australian society about the public service – seen as a source of red tape, of confusing and competing regulation making life harder for business and the general public.

Yet the reality, I am happy to report, is quite different. Australia is recognised globally as a leader in regulatory best practice, as highlighted by an OECD report in 2010.

And the current government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott is taking this further, through a commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on individuals, business and community organisations.

Australia’s focus is on better regulation, not more regulation. In other words, it’s a war on red tape.

In Australia, every new policy proposal designed to introduce or abolish regulation must now be accompanied by a Regulation Impact Statement, or RIS.

The RIS is a tool designed to encourage rigour, innovation and better policy outcomes from the beginning.

The RIS demands a government agency outline why the policy is needed to achieve a priority goal, its impact on different groups, why it is the best option, and how it will be implemented and evaluated.

And the RIS is done at the start of the policy process, to strengthen its value as a vital check on the credibility of government decision making.

And it’s effectively a public document - each RIS will ultimately be read by decision makers, affected groups that need to be consulted, the media and general public.

It’s an excellent discipline for government, and an important measure for economic development and growth.

I’m delighted the Lao PDR has been able to draw on and adapt some of Australia’s experience to establish the Centre for Regulatory Impact Assessment - the RIA Centre.

Excessive, opaque government regulation stifles innovation and investment. It also undermines economic competitiveness at a time when these issues are most vital for the Lao PDR as the ASEAN Economic Community, or AEC, comes closer to reality.

A stable, predictable regulatory framework that provides business certainty will be vital for the Lao PDR to attract the sort of quality foreign investment it needs to develop its full economic potential, and make further inroads into poverty.

I congratulate the Ministry of Justice and the Asian Development Bank for this excellent initiative.

And I wish the Lao PDR every success in it’s own war on red tape.

Thank you and good luck.