New South Wales is set to get its own Productivity Commission. The advisory body will parallel the role played by the Commonwealth Productivity Commission, but focus on New South Wales-specific issues. Lowering living costs and housing prices and improving the ease with which businesses can operate in New South Wales are set to be areas of focus.

The current Commonwealth Productivity Commission is an independent research and advisory body which advises the Commonwealth Government on economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians. Its four core functions are public inquiries and research studies requested by government; self-initiated research and reporting on productivity; industry assistance and regulation, performance monitoring and benchmarking; and processing competitive neutrality complaints.

The NSW Commission will focus on reform to improve the state’s economy. Specifically, one of its main functions will be to “drive micro-economic reform and tackle burdensome regulation” in order to improve the functionality of businesses across the state.

The topical issue of housing affordability will also feature, with the NSW Commission set to focus on four core themes:

  • Lowering the cost of living in NSW
  • Improving housing affordability
  • Making it easier to do business
  • Making NSW the easiest state for businesses to move to.

The Commission will be led by a yet-to-be-appointed NSW Productivity Commissioner. Former head of the Commonwealth Productivity Commission Professor Gary Banks will assist with the establishment of the NSW Commission, and a chief economist will also be appointed. The state’s first chief economist will advise on economic issues, analysis and trends with the NSW Treasurer and liaise with the Productivity Commissioner, as well as government agencies, public and private policy leaders, academics and the business community.

The NSW Commission is also set to prioritise public consultation, with an online portal planned to be set up following the announcement of the Productivity Commissioner. The portal will allow individuals and businesses alike to submit feedback on what they identify as crucial regulatory roadblocks and ideas to combat regulatory burden, which is estimated to cost businesses $10bn annually.