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Background to the Regulatory Powers Act

In 2011, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) raised concerns that the inclusion of suites of regulatory powers in each Bill containing offences or civil penalty provisions was resulting in growing divergence between those provisions, producing ever more complex and intricate variations.

A proposed solution to this issue was to increase the use of common provisions across the Commonwealth statute book. The Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) agreed to work with OPC and relevant agencies and regulators to create a new Act of general application, the Regulatory Powers Act, to reduce the volume and increase the consistency and coherence of Commonwealth laws. This response is part of the ‘Clearer Commonwealth Laws’ initiative.

OPC analysed existing regulatory provisions across a wide range of schemes already on the Commonwealth Statute book. It became clear that there was a set of core regulatory provisions that could be standardised for inclusion in an Act of general application. As a result, the Regulatory Powers Act was drafted, to provide a set of standard provisions that could be applied across multiple regulatory regimes.

The Regulatory Powers Act was also drafted to be consistent with the Guide to Framing Commonwealth Offences, Infringement Notices and Enforcement Powers (the Guide to Framing Commonwealth Offences).