Queensland business benefits from standardisation

Project is part of drive to slash red tape for small businesses

Small businesses in Queensland will benefit from a A$2.5 million (NZ$3.3 million) knowledge management system developed to provide access to region-specific business licensing and law information.

The system is called the Local Government Toolbox Project and was developed by southeast Queensland local councils under part of the federal government’s A$50 million Regulation Reduction Incentive Fund (RRIF) which is designed to slash red tape for small business. So far 21 Queensland councils and Tweed Shire Council are using the toolbox, which has been upgraded from an existing version.

A spokesperson for Ipswich City Council said the councils redesigned the toolbox in July last year to grant council customers access to development information previously only accessible to staff.

“We upgraded our existing toolbox so business entrepreneurs of hairdressers, service stations, mechanics and others looking to build or expand their business can easily find information on relevant regulations, laws and information on best practices for things like environmental health and staff training,” he says.

He said the web-hosted toolbox is the second instalment of a suite of products being designed to standardise access for customers dealing with multiple councils.

The initiative kicked off late last year with an A$7.1 million (NZ$8.48 million) redesign of development application (DA) processes, piloted by Cairns City Council. The proposal includes replacing existing council electronic planning software and systems with a national format to be introduced to establish a standard DA lodgement process.

Close to 100 councils have signed up for the project, 31 projects are on the way and 13 IT suppliers have been short-listed for the work. Streamlining DA processes is expected to cut permit processing times and save up to A$16 million per day.

Project developer Cirrus Australia, which designed the toolbox, integrated a customer facing web interface, a scripting initiative to standardise request handling, and a reform of local laws to make legal requirements consistent.

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