Rules relaxed during pandemic set to stay and deliver $3.1b boost to economy

Rules relaxed during pandemic set to stay and deliver $3.1b boost to economy

Achterstraat found the changes that would deliver the biggest benefits to the economy were those that delivered employment flexibility, specifically by giving employees more ways to access benefits such as long service leave.

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Workers can now choose to take long service leave in smaller blocks – such as one or two days a week, or several smaller blocks – and an employer can agree to less than one month’s notice. This is set to deliver $1.9 billion to the economy alone over a decade.

A suite of other planning measures will give businesses greater flexibility – and generate $250 million over 10 years – by allowing restaurants or commercial kitchens to operate “dark kitchens” for food delivery, permitting food trucks to operate at any time with a landowner’s consent, extending retail hours, and enabling 24-hour retail supply chain deliveries.

Achterstraat’s analysis also found improvements to digital processes trialled during the pandemic would deliver $700 million in benefits over a decade.

Allowing regulatory interviews by government agencies to be held via audio-visual link, for example, would deliver $6.5 million, while letting certain conveyancing documents be electronically signed would generate $195 million.

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Moving strata and community land association meetings online, with an option for electronic voting, could yield up to $213.6 million over 10 years.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the analysis had outlined the ongoing benefits of those COVID measures and would help inform future regulations.

“Measures such as supporting businesses with more flexible retail operating hours and improving how people access long service leave have provided much needed support during the darkest days of the pandemic,” he said.

“I look forward to hearing from regulators, the community and business representatives about future reform opportunities.”

Achterstraat said he was pleased the government had taken the commission’s recommendation to make some of the measures permanent following a thorough evaluation process.

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