To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I believe that a city trying to encourage innovation in an environment rife with unreasonable red tape is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
The story about the introduction of alfresco dining to Freo (and therefore to WA) in the eighties provides solid proof about what is possible when local government chooses to facilitate innovation and cut pointless red tape. The other lesson that I took from this story is that traders (and even our bureaucrats) can double as fantastic place makers.
Reducing the type of bad red tape that suffocates innovation and creativity would make it easier for Freo’s retailers, residents, landowners and even bureaucrats to be more innovative, productive and competitive, and the end outcome would be a more attractive city for locals and visitors.
Aspects of red tape that need addressing
- Reducing the administrative burden.
- Timeliness and predictability of government services.
- Improving coordination between the different divisions of the City of Fremantle.
- Minimising the cumulative burden of regulations. For example, if policy is developed within a silo, the cumulative impact of regulation may be poorly understood and not taken into account.
- Increasing specific attention to the needs of small business.
- Introduce a small business impact test applied to new regulations. If impacts are found to be above a given threshold on small business, the City could be required to tailor portions of the regulation to lessen this impact.
- Start with having conversations with retailers, residents and landowners about their experiences dealing with red tape at the City.
- Introduce more consistent front-end analysis of regulations to “catch red tape before it starts” as part of the regulatory development process.
- Remove superfluous or out-of-date regulations.
- Introduce ongoing review and reduction mechanisms that measure compliance burden and establish disincentives to add red tape.
- Publish an annual report on the status of red tape reduction.
- Innovate to improve service standards, coordination and responsiveness of City of Fremantle regulatory programs.
As a Councillor, I will work towards rewarding innovative ideas, and making sure that the bad, lazy, knee-jerk kind of bureaucracy (which is unfortunately rife, especially when it comes to enforcement) doesn’t mean that good, new initiatives will be hamstrung by red tape.