Cut Through - Red Tape and Bureaucracy

Take heed.


Cut it out!


Figuratively and literally, we are being drowned in, and burdened by red tape. It’s a drag, in more ways than one.


Sadly, it is often tolerated, indeed, expected and planned for.


Throughout Australia, the more readily identifiable and quantifiable red tape and bureaucracy are estimated to cost $65 billion per annum.


Put into context, that represents about $7,300 per household– four times the annual Medicare levy.




When addressing the disturbing and growing Federal and State governments debts and deficits, politicians, economists, bankers and academics tend to focus on the alternatives of increasing taxes, cutting expenditures and implementing retrenchments.


Little or no consideration is given to eliminating, or substantially eliminating red tape.


Similar circumstances arise in reviews and audits of business activities, with a focus on development, growth and profit enhancement.


An annual total of $65 billion would pay for the expensive NBN (National Broadband Network), which is projected at $49 billion, or offset more than the cost of $43 billion for the proposed second major Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.


The recently deposed Colin Barnett –led Liberal Party – National alliance Western Australian state government’s total deficit of $33 billion could have been settled twice within a year, with no need to increase contributions from the GST (Goods and Services Tax) receipts. Now that would have been a winner and vote catcher.


The removal of the burdens of red tape and bureaucracy is good for lifestyles and social aspirations.




In many capital cities and localities, aspiring first home buyers have been, or are being, priced out of the market.


Market values continue to spiral and deposit gaps widen, while dreams crumble.


It is estimated that multiple layers of red tape and bureaucracy extend approval and construction times to such an extent that new residence cost increases range from $20,000, to as much as $150,000. Ouch!


Local governments and regulatory authorities have key roles to play, for the benefit of many, in eliminating red tape and bureaucracy.


Compliance and conformity, a shift in corporate culture should be, if not must be, complemented with an emphasis on expediency and acceleration.




A fixation on direct and immediate costs often doesn’t consider the consequential cost burden.


Constructing, extending and widening motorways with one-shift-a-day schedules avoid overtime and penalty rates .... - at a considerable cost.


The productivity, earnings and lifestyles of countless commuters are adversely affected, often because of unnecessary extended construction schedules.


These additional and contingent costs are difficult, if not impossible, to identify and quantify. So, they are often ignored


Threats of slow-downs and work-to-rules suggest that rules are inefficient, inappropriate and in need of replacement.


Creative applications by highly qualified engineers, designers, accountants and project managers, could surely address and redress the impediments and costs of redundant red tape and bureaucracy.




The practice of writing order forms, submitting such for approval, distributing the same to suppliers and then verifying receipt of stock is slow, antiquated and inordinately costly.


On-time, real-time interface between purchase processes, suppliers, and logistic operations is long-established, but not extensively applied.


An increasing number of businesses are getting cut-through (red tape) and enjoying improved margins, greater productivity and bigger profit margins.


Cultural change is necessary, including the removal of requests to “put it in writing”. Why? Those requests create work, feed bureaucracy and contribute little positive output.




There is much to gain in productivity, profits, staff morale and overall lifestyles by reorientating the focus from the economic “headwinds” to the drag of red tape and bureaucracy. The latter’s presence extends well beyond the three tiers of government in Australia. Look no further than the tax laws, and the attendant compliance costs and fees paid to accountants.


In short, look within.



Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus is an internationally respected business strategist, consumer behaviour analyst and conference keynote speaker.


Barry Urquhart

Conference Keynote Speaker

Marketing Focus

M:      041 983 5555