In her dual role of Commissioner for Better Regulation and Red Tape Commissioner, Anna Cronin provides independent advice to the Government on improving Victoria’s regulatory performance. The Commissioner reports to the Treasurer and is supported by the Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation (OCBR), which includes the Red Tape Unit.
Under the Commissioner’s leadership, the OCBR provides practical advice and support to government Departments and agencies on the impacts of regulatory change, especially through the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIS) and Legislative Impact Assessment (LIA) processes.
We also provide a “one-stop” shop for businesses and not-for-profit organisations with concerns about red tape issues and suggestions for regulatory improvements.
The Commissioner's responsibilities are set out in the Commissioners instrument of appointment (PDF, 464KB) (PDF 465kb).
Assessing the adequacy of Regulatory Impact Statements and Legislative Impact Assessments
The Commissioner and the OCBR work closely with Departments and agencies which are undertaking impact assessments. We engage with the relevant organisation at the beginning of the assessment and offer support throughout the process. This helps to ensure that advice to the Government is clear, comprehensive, logical, draws on relevant evidence, is transparent about any assumptions made, and proportionate to the expected impacts.
In all cases, assessment of the adequacy of each RIS is based on the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 and the Victorian Guide to Regulation.
Assisting agencies responsible for regulation with the design, application and administration of the regulation so that they can improve its quality
The OCBR provides regular training courses on the preparation of impact assessments for departmental and agency staff (including problem definition, option development and assessment techniques). From 2019, a mix of online and face-to-face training will be provided.
The OCBR also runs workshops on specific impact assessments for relevant staff to support them as they consider complex issues and provides advice and support on specific issues at the request of Departments and regulators.
Identifying opportunities to reduce the red tape burden
The Commissioner liaises with the business community and not-for-profit organisations across Victoria to identify ways to reduce regulatory burden or overlap, and to identify possible improvements.
Undertaking regulator stocktakes
In 2018, the Treasurer directed the Commissioner to undertake several regulator stocktakes. These stocktakes are short reports on regulation settings and regulator operations. They are undertaken collaboratively with the relevant regulator and Department.
Completing research on regulatory issues as specified by the Treasurer or the Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance
The Treasurer or Secretary request specific advice from the Commissioner on regulatory issues or other matters.
Convening the Regulators’ Forum
The Commissioner chairs and convenes the Regulators’ Forum. This is a regular meeting which brings together the leaders of Victoria’s largest regulators and relevant departmental staff. The Forum is an important vehicle through which best practice can be shared. Guest speakers of interest to regulators are regularly invited to attend.
Advising the Government on competitive neutrality and investigating complaints
The Victorian Government supports competitive neutrality between government-owned and private enterprises providing the same service. The OCBR’s role is to undertake competitive neutrality investigations under the oversight and direction of the Commissioner. Where a complaint is made, the Commissioner decides whether an investigation is necessary; if it is, the Commissioner completes the investigation and advises the government-owned business on any actions needed to ensure compliance with the Competitive Neutrality Policy.
About the Commissioner
Anna Cronin is Victoria's first Commissioner for Better Regulation, appointed by the Victorian Government in 2015. In June 2018, the Victorian Government appointed her as Red Tape Commissioner as well.
Anna has considerable experience in regulatory issues across many policy areas, including in agricultural and mining regulatory and approvals frameworks. She has also held a number of board positions in the government and not-for-profit sectors, including on the Australian Landcare Council and Rural Skills Australia. Anna was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal for services to rural leadership. She currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne.
Anna graduated from the Australian National University in economics and started her career as an economist in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, and (what is now) the Productivity Commission. She has been closely involved in policy development for 25 years from diverse perspectives, including as CEO of the National Farmers’ Federation, as the senior bureaucrat responsible for major project approvals in the Western Australian Government’s State Development department and as Chief of Staff to two Premiers in the Victorian Government.