The Export Control Act (1982) and its subordinate legislation give the power to register premises to prepare goods for export, subject to compliance with defined requirements.
Different requirements apply to various types of establishments and are intended to manage the risks that different establishments pose to the integrity of the prescribed goods handled and prepared at those establishments.
The requirements define the responsibilities for the occupier of the establishment to maintain and operate the premise in a manner to ensure they are not compromising the status of the prescribed goods.
The term ‘prescribed goods’ applies to the following:
- Prescribed grains: barley, canola, chickpeas, dried field peas, faba beans, lentils, lupins, oats, sorghum, soybeans, split vetch, whole vetch, mung beans and wheat
- Hay and Straw
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dried fruits
- Other prescribed goods, for example: stockfeed, woodchips, seeds and any other grain, plants or plant products for which a phytosanitary certificate is required by an importing country.
Prescribed goods must be prepared and presented for inspection at an export registered establishment.
The purpose of registering an establishment is to:
- ensure that the facilities available are fit for purpose for the preparation and inspection of prescribed goods for export
- ensure that appropriate hygiene and pest control measures are maintained, and
- to provide an effective sanction where an establishment fails to meet the required standards through suspension or revocation of registration or through suspension of export operations at an establishment.
For the purpose of preparing and presenting prescribed goods for export, this document applies to:
- registering an establishment
- renewing registration of an establishment
- inspecting registered establishments
- suspending or revoking registration of an establishment or suspending export operations at a registered establishment
- hygiene requirements for registered establishments.
Note: Registered establishments must not carry out an activity or operation for which they are not export registered.
Application for Registration
The registration process (or re-registration) begins when the occupier of the establishment submits an “Application for Registration or Notification to the Secretary of Change of Details of an Establishment”, also known as an EX026 application form, to AQIS.
Application for registration must be done in writing. Verbal applications are not accepted. AQIS will confirm that the application for registration has been received on an approved form.
AQIS must check that the form has been filled out correctly and all associated documentation has been attached. If there is information missing, AQIS will contact the occupier of the establishment and request the missing information be provided before any further action can be taken.
The following information must be provided in, or attached, to the application form:
- the name and business address of the occupier. If the occupier is a corporation – the name and address of the person, or each person, who is to manage or control the operations to be carried on in the establishment. If the occupier is a partnership – the name and address of the partners
- the location of the premises, including a locality map showing the site in relation to the local area
- the external boundary of the premises
- plans or diagrams giving the general structural and operational layout of the establishment including:
- all major dimensions, the scale and include details of inspection facilities and any required amenities
- a site plan showing all salient features of the site and adjoining sites including the location of the establishment
- elevations of all buildings of the establishment
- a general floor plan
- a floor plan of processing areas, showing all permanent fixtures and the layout of equipment
- A product flow chart and main features of product flow and details of the type of products to be handled has been provided.
General design and construction
A registered establishment in which prescribed goods are prepared or inspected for export must be designed and constructed to allow all operations for which the establishment may be registered to be carried out efficiently, effectively and hygienically.
Also, as appropriate, the design and construction must:
- provide adequate lighting for inspection and other operations as required
- provide adequate ventilation where treatments are carried out
- allow effective cleaning of floors and surrounds in the product handling areas
- minimise entry points and harbourage for pests or diseases, or contamination of goods during preparation
- allow effective cleaning of plant and equipment used in the preparation or handling of the goods
- provide for the disposal of all waste material, including liquids and solids in an efficient and hygienic manner
- provide adequate sampling, office, handwashing and toilet facilities.
Inspection of an Establishment
Once the application form has been confirmed to be correct, the authorised officer must then organise a time with the occupier of the establishment for initial inspection.
The purpose of the inspection is to verify and ensure that the establishment complies with all requirements, in particular:
- that the facilities available are fit for purpose for the preparation and inspection of prescribed goods for export
- ensuring that appropriate hygiene and pest control measures are maintained.
Establishments may be registered for more than one export function and if this is the case, the authorised officer must assess the establishment against all applicable inspection requirements for each separate function.
Authorised officers must not enter a registered establishment or potential registered establishment unless they can be confident that the premise is safe. Every company and premise is different and authorised officers must comply with AQIS OH&S policies as well as National and State OH&S policies in place at that establishment.
Authorised officers must use their discretion when working on all sites, if they feel the area is unsafe they must not commence inspection until they feel safe to do so or report it to their manager/supervisor for further advice to give to the occupier to make the site safe.
Establishment requirements will vary depending on the type of export establishment that is to be registered.
Authorised officers must determine the type of export establishment to be registered and assess against the relevant inspection criteria (and work instructions) in order to complete the inspection process.
Types of establishments include:
- bulk commodity terminal
- export packing facilities for containerised grain (goods other than fresh fruits or vegetables)
- small packing facilities
- registered establishment for the preparation of hay and straw, forest products (logs and woodchips), nuts, fresh fruit and vegetable and dried fruit.
Once inspection of the establishment is complete, the authorised officer must then make a decision as to whether or not to endorse the form. This decision is based on the authorised officer’s observations made during the inspection and any associated documentation presented with the application form.
If the authorised officer endorses the form, it is signed and then forwarded to the regional compliance unit for further processing.
When the form has passed all regional approvals the form is then forwarded to the Canberra office for a further finance assessment and lodgement within the Export Registration database.
If the authorised officer does not endorse the form, the officer must record this and advise the occupier of the establishment that the establishment cannot be registered at this time and the reasons behind this decision.
When AQIS is satisfied that all requirements have been met, the premises will be registered and a certificate of registration sent to the occupier. The Certificate of Registration will detail any condition and/or restriction applying to the registration, and the Regional Program Manager will inform the occupiers of the premises accordingly.
Check inspections of registered premises
These are inspections - between annual inspections - directed primarily at hygiene and pest control, to ensure that prescribed goods are not likely to become contaminated or cross-infested after sampling and inspection during loading.
Renewal of registration
Registration is not time-limited. Registration will remain valid until revoked by AQIS, or until otherwise notified by the occupier, or where the establishment fails the annual detailed comprehensive inspection to determines compliance with all requirements.
Where establishments want to re-register following a period of revocation or suspension, the application for registration process begins with an Application for Registration or Notification to the Secretary of Change of Details of an Establishment form being submitted to the AQIS office by the occupier of the establishment.
Changes must be notified
The delegate/Secretary is to be notified in writing within 7 days if there is a change in management, change in control of an establishment or occupier name, or other circumstances as required under export legislation.
If the delegate/Secretary has been notified in accordance with the Export legislation, the registration of the establishment will continue.
Alterations or additions
Alterations or additions must not be made to a registered establishment unless they have been applied for and approved.
Occupiers of export registered premises that are to be substantially altered, or added to, must forward copies of plans and specifications, together with an application form in writing for approval, to the AQIS State/area Registration Co-ordinator.
An unauthorised alteration of, or addition to, a registered establishment may provide grounds for revocation of registration. Minor alterations or additions that do not make the establishment unhygienic or affect the manner in which prescribed goods can be inspected may be acceptable without application, however it is suggested that AQIS is consulted before changes are made.
Variation of export operations
The occupier of a registered establishment must not carry out, in that establishment, an export operation for which the establishment is not registered. If the occupier wishes to undertake an operation for which they are not registered, approval must be sought in writing including copies of plans and specifications must be provided together with an application form.
New Certificate of registration
The delegate/Secretary may vary registration if:
- the occupier ceases to be fit and proper person
- the condition of, or equipment in, an establishment has changed, or
- the suitability of the establishment for the operations for which it is registered has changed.
The delegate/Secretary may also vary:
- the conditions of registration of the establishment. This includes imposing, adding or substituting a condition of registration
- the registration of the establishment by reducing the number of export operations that may be carried on.
If the delegate/Secretary varies the conditions of the registration of an establishment, or varies the registration of an establishment, in a way that requires an alteration to the establishment’s certificate of registration, the Secretary must issue a new certificate of registration to the occupier of the establishment within 7 days.
Suspension and Cancellation of Registration or Operations
The secretary, or a delegate of the secretary, has authority to suspend or revoke registration of an establishment under Export Legislation.
An authorised officer (as delegated) has the power to:
- suspend or revoke establishment registration
- suspend a particular export operation for which an establishment is registered
- determine the period of suspension.
An authorised officer must give written notice of suspension of operations if the time needed to fix the problem is likely to be more than two hours.
Registration may also be suspended:
- at the request of the occupier of the establishment
- for non payment of debt.
Grounds for Suspension of Registration
Suspension of registration may be given in writing where the authorised officer has reasonable grounds to believe that requirements according to legislation are not being met, in relation to:
- the condition of a registered establishment or
- the carrying on of operations in a registered establishment or
- the export of prescribed goods that have been prepared in a registered establishment or
- there are grounds for the revocation of the registration of an establishment.
Grounds for Suspension of Operations
An authorised officer has the power to monitor the conditions at a registered establishment and determine if prescribed goods are able to be prepared hygienically and if proper inspection of the prescribed goods is possible in accordance with conditions of registration.
If conditions change so they do not meet these requirements, the authorised officer has the power to suspend operations.
An authorised officer (as a delegate of the Secretary) has the power to suspend registration of an establishment in respect of one or more of the export operations for which the establishment is registered. Suspension may be either in part or for all export operations.
While not an exhaustive list, operations may be suspended under export legislation if there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
- prescribed goods are not being prepared at a registered establishment under hygienic conditions or in an hygienic manner
- the proper inspection of prescribed goods at an establishment is not possible
- the establishment and export operations being carried on in the establishment have ceased to comply with any Export Control Order that applies to them
- prescribed goods, other than the prescribed goods in respect of which the establishment is registered, are prepared at the establishment
- the occupier ceases to be fit and proper person.
When registration of an establishment is suspended in respect of one or more of the export operations for which the establishment is registered, this means that prescribed goods prepared at the establishment during the period of suspension are no longer eligible for export.
Period of Suspension
Authorised officers have the power, in consultation with their manager, to determine the suspension period. This is based on the period thought necessary for the establishment to correct the problem non-conformities and comply with the conditions of registration.
The period of suspension will be determined by the time needed to ensure that:
- prescribed goods can be prepared at the establishment hygienically, or
- the proper inspection of prescribed goods at the establishment is again possible.
In practice, suspensions can be advised orally informing the establishment manager that operations have been suspended, oral suspension has effect only up to two hours.
For a longer suspension, notice in writing must be given as soon as possible to the manager of the establishment/occupier, giving the reasons for the suspension.
Suspension at request of occupier
If the occupier of a registered establishment advises the Secretary in writing that export operations at the establishment will not be carried on for a period, the Secretary may suspend any export operations that are specified in the notice for such period (not exceeding the period specified in the notice) and on such conditions, as the Secretary thinks fit.
Hygiene Standards for Registered Establishments
An appropriate standard of hygiene is required to be maintained at registered establishments at all times to minimise any risk of cross contamination, harbouring of pests, or transferring contaminants to prescribed goods for export.
Importing countries may also require additional hygiene measures from registered establishments, allowing for the export of certain commodities from those establishments adhering to the additional requirements.
Poor hygiene can create a number of problems for registered establishments such as increasing the need for using chemicals to treat pests and can make residual control methods less effective; it can increase chance of product rejection at inspection, and potentially, result in the loss of an export market.
Under export legislation the operations of a registered establishment can be suspended if there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
- prescribed goods are not being prepared at a registered establishment under hygienic conditions or in an hygienic manner
- the proper inspection of prescribed goods at an establishment is not possible.
Sources of Infestation and Hygiene Requirements
The operator of a registered establishment must maintain the establishment in a hygienic condition to control pests, including vermin, and have a defined program of hygiene and pest control. The operator of a registered establishment must keep records of cleaning and pest control measures in sufficient detail to enable an authorised officer to monitor the effectiveness of pest control measures.
A simple checklist has also been provided below to assist with establishment hygiene.
The following list provides a guide to sources of infestation and when conducting an inspection of an export registered establishment.
Special attention needs to be directed towards the cleaning and treatment undertaken in the following areas:
- commodity residues and dust
- infested commodities and products
- transport equipment
- bags, cartons etc.
- rubbish /waste disposal zones.
Commodity Residues and Dust
Residues of commodities and/or dust found in or around structures during the inspection of export registered establishments should be suspected of harbouring pests and disease. Residues that are left undisturbed for periods of time may harbour infestations of eggs, pupae or larvae, insects and rodents. Dust, debris, waste, screenings and/or any other residue (other than that put aside for further preparation) must be removed from areas where prescribed goods are prepared and removed from the establishment on a regular basis.
Infested Commodities and Products
Commodities and products stored in, or around, registered establishments are an attractive breeding ground for insects and rodents. Any such commodities/products located in or around the registered establishment must be inspected and monitored regularly particularly if they are stored for a period of time.
Structures that show deterioration or that include visible cracks or crevices and any inaccessible places such as the top of structural beams and ledges are likely to harbour insects or rodents. Birds will nest in high out of the way areas, moths will tend to congregate in dark places and insects will harbour and lay eggs in any material left lying around.
Horizontal and vertical surfaces must be inspected thoroughly for insect infestation and treated as necessary.
Ideally, buildings and structures should be designed to facilitate implementation of good hygiene practices.
Buildings should also minimise the opportunity for entry of pests such as rodents and birds. Floors should ideally be of concrete or similar impervious material to facilitate cleaning or fumigation treatments. Wall and roof design should where possible minimise accumulation of dust/residues.
External areas surrounding registered establishments are notorious sources of pest infestation, the surrounding areas can harbour live pests, rodents, cats, snails etc. Building surrounds must be maintained in a hygienic manner that does not allow for the harbouring of pests.
External areas not limited to the following must be free of:
- commodity spillages
- weeds / weed seeds
- infestable material
- un-used machinery
- old dunnage, timber, pallets etc
- tyres, tarps, drums etc.
Transport equipment and machinery
Establishment machinery and handling equipment may provide for sources of infestation or contamination particularly if they have sat idle for a while. Such equipment should be thoroughly inspected and cleaned of any residues or debris before and after usage.
Handling equipment and machinery should include cleaning hatches or access points to allow adequate cleaning of hard to reach places.
Any packaging material, such as bags, which are used to contain prescribed goods must not be reused unless they have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfested. Clean new packaging should be used where possible.
Rubbish, waste and handling of sources of contamination
Any substance, or residue of prescribed goods, likely to contaminate, harbour pests or provide a source of infestation, must not be stored or handled in a building or area used for their preparation of prescribed goods for export, or stored in any area likely to create a source of contamination.
Toxic substances and other substances must not be stored in an area or a building where prescribed goods are handled or stored. Rodenticides, fumigants, fungicides, insecticides or other toxic substances must be stored in a manner which will prevent contamination of prescribed goods or anything that may come into contact with them.
Please note that a check list is provided within the downloadable resource page that includes the minimum standard required for registered establishments.
There may be other aspects that may apply to your specific establishment or to countries you are exporting to that you may also need to consider.
Relevant eLearning Modules
- Export Inspections: Export Registered Establishments
- You can contact your Regional Plant Exports Program Manager to clarify any aspects of this volume in the first instance.
- You can also direct a specific question or provide feedback to Plant Exports Training
Volume 6b | Index | Volume 8