Appearing before a Senate Select Committee hearing, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said that regtech has created an opportunity to make life easier for small businesses by using information technology to simplify regulatory processes for the end user.
“Research shows us that a quarter of small businesses spend 11 hours a week or more on compliance and close to half estimate the annual cost of compliance is $10,000 plus,” Ms Carnell said.
“It’s a potential game changer for small businesses trying to navigate Australia’s complex regulatory system.”
According to Ms Carnell, regtech could be implemented to areas including award simplification, tax requirements, skills and training, government procurement and OH&S.
“With effective use of regtech, the government could streamline processes and reduce the burden on small businesses to interpret and implement complex regulations,” Ms Carnell explained.
“This would be particularly useful in the industrial relations space where regtech solutions could ensure small businesses are paying wages and entitlements correctly and on time.”
She revealed that the ASBFEO has recommended the Fair Work Ombudsman accredit regtech solutions for this purpose.
In addition, Ms Carnell noted, government procurement would be optimised with digitisation.
“Regtech could provide small businesses with easier access to panels and demonstrate ongoing compliance. It could also simplify the tender process for small businesses,” she said.
Ultimately, Ms Carnell argued, the government has an opportunity to modernise their systems now to reduce red tape, giving small businesses the opportunity to develop the skills and products Australia needs to remain globally competitive.