Regulation is a key instrument used by government to achieve its
social, economic and environmental goals. To be effective,
regulation requires a well-targeted and evidence-based approach
which efficiently achieves government’s intended outcomes while
minimising the burden placed on businesses.
Recent reviews have identified the absence of an effective
risk-based approach to regulation as a significant weakness in the
This audit assessed how well four selected regulators, the
Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) in its
portfolio oversight role, and the Department of Treasury and
Finance (DTF) in its whole-of-government role, have contributed to
improved regulatory performance in the health portfolio.
We found that regulatory practices within the health portfolio
are at a low level of maturity because:
- regulators have not taken a systematic,
risk-based approach and do not fully understand the impact of their
- DHHS has not effectively overseen and
supported health regulators
- DTF has not applied government's Statement
of Expectations policy in a way that has helped address these gaps
DHHS has committed to developing and implementing a regulatory
reform strategy, and it is important that this work proceeds
because, if done well, it will help improve performance in the
medium to long term.
We recommend that health portfolio regulators address the
specific weaknesses identified in this audit, that DHHS develop and
implement a strategy for the effective oversight of portfolio
regulators and that DTF improves how it develops, supports and
evaluates regulatory reform programs.