The Courier-Mail

RED TAPE? THESE GUYS WROTE THE BOOK ON IT

- JASON TIN

THE former Newman government has been accused of pulling public servants from their normal duties to count red tape-related words in legislatio­n while referring to 47 pages of guidelines.

Small Business Minister Kate Jones yesterday told a parliament­ary Estimates hearing that bureaucrat­s were made to pore over legislatio­n and tally up key terms such as “should” and “can” in a bid to identify red tape.

She said the process, which was part of the former government’s drive to reduce red tape, involved referring public servants to 47 pages of guidelines to help them determine what constitute­d red tape.

It is understood staff from across a range of department­s would be seconded for days, with up to 15 staff in one particular department performing the task.

The guidelines document spells out how to count red taperelate­d keywords in each piece of legislatio­n, with every use of

words such as “must” and “shall” to be noted.

Former treasurer Tim Nicholls said the identifica­tion of red tape was done through the Office of Best Practice Regulation and had formed part of the LNP’s election commitment.

“In order to work out the reduction of red tape, you’ve got to measure what you’ve got in the first place,” he said. “The Office was set up within the Queensland Competitio­n Authority. When required, it seconded people from

other department­s.”

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