An information paper by the Productivity Commission has highlighted how there is scope for Australia to adopt regulatory technology (regtech) beyond the financial sector, with the belief it can improve regulatory outcomes and reduce the costs of administration and compliance.
In its regulatory technology information paper [PDF], the Productivity Commission noted how Australia is “well-placed” to develop regtech solutions given its “relatively stable and sophisticated” regulatory systems, but currently, extensive use of regtech remains relatively low.
“Low awareness can dampen both demand and supply responses — business need to see value in changing their software so that developers see value in investing in applications, which in turn deliver the value businesses need to see,” the paper stated.
It went on to suggest that Australia could extend its existing use of “low-tech” solutions, including digitised data, forms, registers, and transactions to streamline business and individual transactions with government, as well as reduce compliance costs, improve the efficiency of regulatory practices, and generate flow-on benefits to the community.
Some of the specific areas that the Productivity Commission believes regtech solutions could benefit from include where regulatory environments are particularly complex to navigate and monitor, explaining that there is scope to improve risk-based regulatory approaches; technology could enable better monitoring; and technology could safely unlock more uses of data for regulatory compliance.
While regtech could improve regulatory outcome, it should not be used as a substitute for regulatory reform, the Productivity Commission warned.
The paper also examined the costs, risks, and hurdles associated with the wider adoption of regtech. It pointed out that while regtech has the potential to deliver benefits, the wide-spread implementation of it could take some years, particularly when it comes to the adoption of “advanced” regtech, which requires specialised resources and longer development times.
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