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Cost recovery by Commonwealth agencies

Inquiry report

Released 14 / 03 / 2002

This inquiry report consists of two parts - Part 1 consists of the preliminaries and chapters and Part 2 consists of the Proposed Information Agency Guidelines, Proposed Regulatory Agency Guidelines, appendices and references.

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  • Contents

Cover, Copyright, Signing Page, Terms of reference, Contents, Abbreviations, Glossary, Key messages, Overview, Recommendations and findings

Part 1

1   About this inquiry
1.1   What is cost recovery?
1.2   Purpose of the inquiry
1.3   Scope of the inquiry
1.4   Commission’s approach
1.5   Conduct of the inquiry
1.6   Structure of report

2   Economics of cost recovery
2.1   Provision of government products
2.2   Reasons for cost recovery
2.3   Competition issues
2.4   Cost recovery rationale for information agencies
2.5   Cost recovery rationale for regulatory agencies
2.6   Concluding comments

3   Legal and fiscal framework
3.1   Constitutional issues
3.2   Legislative and fiscal arrangements
3.3   Institutional framework
3.4   International obligations
3.5   Other models of cost recovery

4   Current cost recovery arrangements
4.1   Introduction
4.2   Agency rationales for cost recovery
4.3   Extent of current cost recovery arrangements
4.4   Cost recovery mechanisms
4.5   Costs recovered
4.6   Access and equity considerations
4.7   Institutional arrangements
4.8   Summary

5   Effects of cost recovery
5.1   Agency objectives
5.2   Incentives for agency efficiency
5.3   Effects on agency innovation and technology
5.4   Effects on industry competition and innovation
5.5   Cross-subsidy issues
5.6   Effects on consumers
5.7   Conclusion

6   Cost recovery under the Trade Practices Act 1974
6.1   Introduction
6.2   Charges under the Trade Practices Act
6.3   Nature of Trade Practices Act charges
6.4   Effects of Trade Practices Act charges on competition and economic efficiency
6.5   Options for Trade Practices Act charges
6.6   Summary and recommendations

7   Improving the application of cost recovery
7.1   General principles for applying cost recovery
7.2   Applying cost recovery to information products
7.3   Applying cost recovery to regulatory activities
7.4   Practical considerations in applying cost recovery
7.5   Conclusions

8   Improving agency efficiency
8.1   Accountability to government
8.2   Consultation arrangements
8.3   Existing mechanisms to promote efficiency
8.4   Improving the review of cost recovery

9   Implementation
9.1   Introduction
9.2   Implementing the guidelines
9.3   Assessment of cost recovery arrangements
9.4   Accountability and transparency
9.5   Review and monitoring

Part 2

Proposed Information Agency Guidelines

Proposed Regulatory Agency Guidelines

A   Conduct of the inquiry
A.1   Submissions received
A.2   Visits
A.3   Public hearing participants
A.4   Workshop participants

B   Selected cost recovery arrangements
B.1   Case study — information agencies
B.2   Case study — Health and safety regulatory agencies
B.3   Case study — Financial regulatory agencies
B.4   Case study — Australian Communication Authority

C   Case study — information agencies
C.1   Extent and nature of cost recovery
C.2   Effects of cost recovery on agencies
C.3   Economic effects of cost recovery
C.4   Summary

D   Case study — health and safety regulatory agencies
D.1   Extent and nature of cost recovery
D.2   Impact of cost recovery on agencies
D.3   Economic effects of cost recovery

E   Case study — Australian Communications Authority
E.1   Role of the ACA
E.2   Extent and nature of cost recovery
E.3   Impact of cost recovery on agencies
E.4   Economic effects of cost recovery

F   Case study — financial regulatory agencies
F.1   Market failures
F.2   Extent and nature of cost recovery
F.3   Impact of cost recovery on agencies
F.4   Economic effects of cost recovery

G   Other jurisdictions
G.1   Introduction
G.2   Rationales
G.3   Legal authority
G.4   Governance and accountability
G.5   Application of cost recovery
G.6   Trends
G.7   Case studies

H   Costing approaches
H.1   Some benefits of costing products
H.2   Defining the product to be costed
H.3   Measuring costs
H.4   Allocating costs

I   Australian Government Solicitor’s legal advice
Fees for services and taxes
Other comments

J   Questionnaire
J.1   Departments and agencies surveyed