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Authorised Officers

​​​​​​Plant Export Management System (PEMS)

In November 2018, the department made PEMS available for industry use.

This means if you are an Authorised Officer, exporter, EDI user or registered establishment, there have been some changes to the export documentation processes that you need to be aware of.

For information about PEMS and what the changes mean to you, see PEMS for industry, exporters and Authorised Officers​.

Who are Plant Export Authorised Officers (AOs)?

Plant Export AOs play an important role in maintaining Australia’s global reputation as a reliable source of safe and high-quality products.

AOs are trained and accredited individuals who are authorised as Australian Government officials under the Export Control Act 1982, to perform specific export inspection and certification functions (job functions) in accordance with Australian export legislation. An AO may be an external individual or a departmental officer.

Export inspections and certification carried out by AOs, provide confidence to our trading partners that our plant exports meet importing country requirements.

AOs may conduct a range of export functions for a number of commodities on behalf of the Department of Agriculture (based on their training and assessment history). All AOs are subject to a rigorous audit regime.

Training and accreditation

AOs must have the right skills, and prove their competency through an assessment, in order to carry out a range of export functions in a manner that meets the requirements of overseas trading partners and complies with all legislative requirements.

Book an inspection with an AO

If you are not using an AO within your own business, you can either:

You will need to present your documents to the AO before inspection.

Detailed information about what will occur during an inspection is available in the Product Inspection and Transport Unit Sections of the Plant Export Operations Manual.

Becoming an AO

When applying to become an AO, applicants must declare any potential conflict of interest that would affect their ability to carry out their work as an AO. These conflicts must be resolved prior to their application being approved.

Fees and charges apply to becoming an AO. All costs must be settled prior to a person being appointed as an AO.

The department has developed a framework; which describes the policy and procedures for becoming an AO. The External Authorised Officer Framework outlines the application process, training, assessment and accreditation, and the appointment process.

For detailed information on how to become an AO and ongoing requirements, see below.

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Steps to become an Australian plant exports AO

StepsAction
AO applicant submits an application

An AO applicant must submit a complete application to the department covering any job functions they would like to be appointed to perform.

Department invoices the application fee

Once the department receives an application, the applicant will be sent an invoice for the $250 (Incl GST) application fee.

The applicant will need to pay this invoice before their application can be processed.

Department processes the application

The department may take up to 15 working days to process an application and return an email with the results.

There are three situations when the department may contact an applicant relating to their application:

  • the application is accepted and the applicant can progress to the next steps.
  • the application requires further information and cannot be progressed until additional information is provided.
  • the application is not accepted.
Department invoices the learning and assessment fee

Once an application has been accepted, the applicant will be enrolled into eLearning and will receive an invoice for the $1750 (incl GST) learning and assessment fee. At this stage they become an AO candidate.

The candidate must pay this invoice before they can undergo assessment.

AO candidate completes the eLearning programs

Most job functions have a mandatory eLearning program.

An AO candidate can work their way through the eLearning program at their own pace and is required to complete all quick quizzes and knowledge assessments.

Once the candidate has completed their eLearning, they must email Plant Export Training to verify all courses are complete.

A candidate must complete their eLearning programs before they can undergo assessment.

AO candidate attends facilitated training

Facilitated training is mandatory for all job functions.

Facilitated training can be requested by contacting Plant Export Training.

AO candidate completes competency assessment/s

Once an AO candidate is ready to participate in a competency assessment against their chosen job functions, they must advise the department by emailing Plant Export Training.

Please note that the $1750 (incl GST) learning and assessment fee charged earlier must be paid, and eLearning and facilitated training completed, before an assessment can be undertaken.

The candidate advice documents in the Plant Export Operations Manual, provide detailed information about how you will be assessed for each job function.

Department invoices the appointment fee

Once an AO candidate is deemed competent against a chosen job function through a competency assessment, the department will issue a $250 (incl GST) invoice for the AO’s appointment.

The candidate must pay this invoice before they can be appointed as an AO.

Department prepares a Deed of Obligations (DoO)

Within ten working days of receiving payment of the appointment fee, the department will prepare and email the DoO to the AO candidate. The candidate must sign, date and return it to Plant Export Training.

The DoO is a legally binding document that outlines the export service standards, an AO’s authority to act and the services the AO can perform.

Instrument of Appointment (IoA)

Within ten working days of receiving a signed DoO, the department will prepare an IoA for the candidate.

Once the IoA is signed by the delegate, an AO candidate will be appointed as an AO and be allowed to perform certain job functions on behalf of the department.

Ongoing performance

Once a person is appointed as an AO, their performance will be monitored through an audit process.

For more information on how the department will monitor AO performance, see the AO Audit and Performance Standards.

Job functions and training

Before undertaking inspections, AOs must be:

  • appropriately trained and deemed competent, and
  • appointed by us for the relevant job function.

Check our list of job functions that inspection AOs may be accredited for. You can read more about what each job function involves and the training and assessment required to gain accreditation.

Application and forms

To apply to become an AO, download and complete the AO application form - Australian plant exports:

Download

Document PagesFile size
AO application form - Australian Plant Exports PDF8324 KB
AO application form - Australian Plant Exports DOCX

Attachment 1: AO conflict of interests

8131 KB
Attachment 2: BV13001 prerequisites PDF 1140 KB
Attachment 2: BV13001 prerequisites DOCX 168 KB
Authorised Officer medical assessment report for BVI3001 PDF 14582 KB
Authorised Officer declaration of boarding experience PDF2173 KB
Authorised Officer declaration of boarding experience DOCX280 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Update your contact details

To update your contact details, including disclosing a new conflict of interest or pending criminal charges, download and complete the AO update details form – Australian plant exports:

Download

DocumentPagesFile size
AO update details form​ ​- Australian Plant Exports PDFPDF Icon

4136 KB
AO update details form - Australian Plant Exports DOCX Word Icon4201 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

To remove job function/s or apply for additional job function/s

To remove job function/s from your application or appointment or to apply for additional job function/s, download and complete the AO change of job function/s form - Australian plant exports:

Download

DocumentPagesFile size
AO change of job function/s form - Australian Plant Exports PDF3132 KB
AO change of job function/s form - Australian Plant Exports DOCX3139 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Requesting facilitated training or competency assessment

If you have completed the relevant eLearning program for your chosen job function/s, you can request facilitated training which is mandatory for all job functions.

Once you have attended the facilitated training, have paid your learning an assessment fee, and are ready to be assessed, you may request a competency assessment.

To request facilitated training or a competency assessment, you will need to email the Authorised Officer Program at Plant Export Training.

Ongoing audit of your performance as an AO

An appointed AO’s performance will be monitored through ongoing audits. AOs are subject to announced and/or unannounced audits by departmental auditors and the audit of all AO inspection records. AOs may be issued with Corrective Action Requests (CARs) to address non-compliances and may also be required to attend additional training to ensure that their competency standard is maintained. The detection of serious non-compliance could result in the revocation of the AO’s appointment and/or further legal action if deemed necessary.

For more information, visit the AO Audit and Performance Standards.

Reappointment visits

Each job function appointment is valid for a period of 2 years (except in the case of the Bulk Vessel Inspection job function which is valid until the first prerequisite training/registration expires). If the AO chooses to continue with their appointment under that job function, the department will visit the AO on site, prior to reappointment through a new initiative called the ‘Reappointment Visit’. The visit will provide AOs with a face-to-face opportunity to raise concerns or clarify issues with the department, and to give and receive feedback. It is designed to support AOs in all elements of the AO model and improve their access to technical support. The department will not charge AOs for the reappointment visit.

Please note that reappointment visits are not an audit.

Withdraw from the AO model

To withdraw from the AO model, please download and complete the AO withdrawal form – Australian plant exports:

Download

DocumentPagesFile size
AO withdrawal form PDF 185 KB
AO withdrawal form DOCX 1115 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.​​​

Where to send your application

Send completed forms and relevant documentation to the following email or postal address:

Email to: Plant Export Training.

AO Administrator - Plant Export Operations
Department of Agriculture
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

AO Company information pack

The department has developed a Company Information Pack for businesses interested in taking part in the AO model.

Questions and answers

The department has developed the following questions and answers. If you still have unanswered questions, please email Plant Export Training.

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