The Authorised Officer (AO) Company Information Pack

​​This pack includes information on Authorised Officers (AO) and useful tools to help your company progress to the new AO model.

The following information sheets and tools are included in this information pack to help your company implement the AO model effectively:

What is an AO?

An AO is a specially trained individual who are authorised to perform specific export inspection functions in accordance with Australian export legislation. The AO is appointed to perform specific functions under the Export Control Act 1982 as outlined in their Instrument of Appointment. Before any plants or plant products are exported, they must be inspected and passed by an AO.

An AO may be a:

  • Industry employee e.g. exporter, freight forwarder, company employee linked to a specific registered establishment or group of registered establishments
  • third party inspector
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​ employee undertaking export inspections and issuing export certification.

Industry AO’s must also sign a Deed of Obligations. The deed lists the obligations an AO is required to meet when conducting a plant export inspection on behalf of the department. By signing the Deed of Obligations they will be directly responsible to the department for any sampling, inspection and testing tasks. They will also be bound by the Export Control Act 1982 and all sub-ordinate legislation. In addition, the deed outlines the export service standards, AOs authority to act and services they can perform. The detection of serious non compliance could result in the revocation of the AO’s appointment and/or further legal action if deemed necessary.

How will I benefit?

By adopting the AO model your company could benefit from:

  • flexible, responsive systems that support industry’s operating hours
  • national standards to improve inspection consistency
  • amended orders and schedules to remove prescriptive elements and become outcomes focussed
  • quicker integration and adoption of alternative inspections technologies and techniques.

AO training and accreditation is provided by the department and at this stage is free of charge.

What are the AO candidate’s responsibilities?

The pack emphasises that it is the individual AO applicant’s responsibility to take the necessary steps towards achieving their appointment as AO. The company can only give support when needed by the candidate. The AO candidate must therefore:

  • initiate the application process
  • undergo eLearning
  • decide whether or not to partake in on–the–job training
  • decide when they are ready for assessment.

How can I support my AO Candidate through the process?

As a company, you will not be directly involved in the AO process, however you can support your AO through the learning and assessment phases of the AO process by:

  • providing your AO with access to a computer with an internet connection so that they can complete their eLearning modules
  • allowing your AO to have time to complete the eLearning modules during working hours
  • filling out the ‘Do my staff need on-the-job training?’ checklist contained in this pack and allow your AO candidate to have time from work to attend on–the–job training
  • filling out the ‘Are my staff ready for Assessment?’ checklist contained in this pack to make sure your AO candidate is ready for assessment and does not feel pressured to be assessed when they are not yet confident
  • familiarising yourself with the ‘Introduction to Plant Export Operations’ eLearning module.