Foreword from the Regulations Review Committee

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The review of regulations that set fees for goods and services is core business for the Regulations Review Committee. The role of the Committee is to ensure on behalf of Parliament that the Executive exercises its delegated law-making power responsibly. It performs this function through reporting on issues of principle to the House of Representatives, through regular examination of new fees regulations, and through hearing and reporting on complaints from the public related to fees regulation.

The Regulations Review Committee welcomes these updated guidelines from the Controller and Auditor-General. While the principles relating to cost recovery remain the same, there have been many developments since the original guidelines were published in 1989. We note that the Treasury produced complementary guidelines in 2002 that must also be taken into account when setting fees.

The process of setting fees for goods and services provided by public entities requires particular care. It must ensure that constitutional principles relating to taxation are observed, that fees do not exceed the costs of providing the services, and that fees are set in a fair and transparent manner. Guidance on these matters is set out in the updated guidelines with clarity and concision.

The Committee has worked closely with the Office of the Auditor-General on developing principles for setting fees for public sector goods and services. When reviewing fees regulations and complaints that relate to such regulations, the Committee's first consideration is whether the regulations are consistent with the Auditor-General's guidelines. The Regulations Review Committee therefore recommends these guidelines for the consideration of all public entities involved in the fee-setting process.

Signature of Richard Worth.
Dr Richard Worth
Chairman
Regulations Review COmmittee

18 June 2008