This may not be very good news for the Australian government. A survey reveals that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) tops the list of bureaucracies that have troublesome regulatory hurdles. This is according to the NSW Business Chamber’s Fifth annual Red Tape Survey.

Lagging behind ATO are the NSW local governments, safety regulators, Fair Work Australia, and then Centerlink.

"I'm not surprised the ATO continues to be the bane of business operators - it interacts with nearly every business in Australia in some fashion, and almost three quarters of respondents believe interacting with it is complex and time consuming," this is according to Stephen Cartwright, CEO of the chamber.

It was also revealed that out of 10 businesses, 7 have indicated that compliance cost and time have increased over the past two years. Additionally, only 1 percent indicated that such factors have decreased over time.

It was revealed too in the survey that about 40 percent of businesses spend over 5 hours per week on regulatory compliance alone. Additionally, 33 percent are spending over $10,000.

Among those surveyed, over 50 percent believe that the growth of their businesses have been hampered due to regulatory requirements.

Mr. Cartwright also added that red tape and the cost of regulation is interfering with national competitiveness. It is meddling with innovation and productivity. It also hampers the chances of such small businesses to grow, expand, and employ more. He takes into consideration the fact that such businesses employ about 7 million Australians. Mr. Cartwright is also growing more concerned at the revelation that about 2 in every 5 businesses had to comply with requirements that basically made no sense.

"Im concerned to hear that businesses are being asked to comply with regulations that appear to make no sense, or have become obsolete and meaningless. Government is quick to add new regulations but painfully slow and reluctant in eliminating old and burdensome red tape,” Mr. Cartwright said.

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