Improving agricultural export legislation

​​​​Getting involved

As part of the upcoming consultation the department will be holding information sessions around the country. The information sessions are an opportunity for industry to discuss the draft legislation and have their questions answered.

Register your interest to attend an information session, or to seek further information on the draft legislation.

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources announced on 3 December 2015 that the Australian Government would be making improvements to agricultural export legislation. This decision was made following the 2015 Export Regulation Review. The review found that improvements can be made to better support exporters, farmers and other producers.

Modernising the export legislation will mean farmers and exporters are supported by contemporary, flexible and efficient legislation that can respond to a range of situations in the future. The rules for exporting will be easier to understand and comply with.

The improved legislation will be implemented before 1 April 2020, when much of the existing framework is due to expire.

Key areas of improvements

Factsheets

A set of fact sheets have been developed to explain the keys areas where improvements to the legislation have been made. Descriptions and links to the fact sheets are provided below.

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Streamlining and consolidating

We’re consolidating the current agricultural export legislation into an improved Export Control Act and associated Export Control Rules.

These improvements will maintain existing regulatory oversight, making export provisions consistent across commodities where possible.

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Key points

  • We’re consolidating the current agricultural export legislation into an improved Export Control Act and associated Export Control Rules.
  • These improvements will maintain existing regulatory oversight while removing duplication and making export provisions consistent across commodities where possible.
  • Improvements will make the legislation easier to use, whilst maintaining Australia’s commitment to meeting importing country requirements.
  • The overall level of government regulatory oversight will be maintained.
  • Formal consultation on the exposure draft of the Bill is planned from 2017.
  • Your feedback will help us deliver these improvements.
  • Register your interest at Improving agricultural export legislation.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is streamlining and consolidating agricultural export legislation, making it easier to understand, administer and use.

There are currently 17 acts and over 40 legislative instruments that make up the agricultural export legislation framework.

This regulatory framework is important as it underpins Australia’s reputation as a supplier of safe and reliable food and other commodities. It also provides assurance to our trading partners that their specific requirements are met. The existing legislation has served its purpose well, but much of it is due to sunset (cease to be law) in April 2020. The Australian Government is using this opportunity to improve the regulatory framework, whilst maintaining Australia’s commitment to meeting importing country requirements.

Improving the structure

Wherever possible, requirements that are common across commodities will be incorporated into the improved Export Control Act.

Export-related provisions within other agricultural legislation—such as the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997— will also be incorporated.

Export Control Rules

The other parts of the Orders and Regulations will be consolidated in the Export Control Rules, made by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Similar to the current Orders, the Rules are legislative instruments, made under the improved Export Control Act, that are subject to parliamentary checks and balances.

These Rules will set out the operational requirements that agricultural exporters must meet—such as where and how products are to be prepared, and the permits and certificates necessary to export from Australia.

The Rules will also provide detail on requirements that are common across commodities, as well as commodity-specific requirements.

Assisting Australian farmers

Consolidating and streamlining export legislation will assist exporters, farmers and primary producers by reducing duplication, and associated administrative burden, across the framework.

While these improvements will alter the appearance of the current framework, the overall level of regulatory oversight provided by the government will be maintained to support market access.

Improved legislation also gives the government greater flexibility in regulating agricultural exports into the future. This will assist in maintaining existing market access opportunities and in securing access to emerging markets.

Get involved

An exposure draft of the new legislation is expected to be available for comment from 2017.

Your feedback and input will help us deliver these improvements. To register your interest in consultation and engagement activities, visit Improving agricultural export legislation.

Compliance and enforcement

A graduated set of compliance and enforcement powers will be introduced as part of the improvements. This will enable the department to respond proportionately to acts of non-compliance deterring those who may be doing the wrong thing.

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Key points

  • The regulation of goods provides assurance to trading partners on the integrity of Australian exports.
  • The improved legislation will enable exporters to respond more quickly to changes in importing country requirements.
  • Your feedback will help us deliver these improvements. Register your interest at Improving agricultural export legislation.

Regulating exports

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is improving agricultural export legislation, implementing a broader range of compliance and enforcement powers. These improvements are designed to better address acts of non-compliance and protect Australia’s reputation as a country of safe and high quality export products.

We undertake a range of activities under Australia’s export legislation to ensure agricultural exports comply with importing country requirements. These activities include sampling functions, audits, and inspections and certifying products for export.

Our exporters operate within these regulations as an everyday part of their business activities. Industry acceptance of, and compliance with, these standards underpins Australia’s reputation as a high quality exporter.

Broader compliance and enforcement powers

Current agricultural export legislation provides the department with the tools to investigate, identify and rectify any export activities that do not meet the required standards. These tools assist the department to protect Australia’s trading reputation and to ensure minimal market access disruption for compliant exporters.

The improvements will build upon our existing capabilities by providing a broader set of compliance and enforcement powers.

A stepped approach, designed to respond to acts of non-compliance in a proportionate and timely manner, will include issuing infringement notices, suspending export activities and other, more serious penalties. This will help to ensure that those doing the wrong thing don’t bring the system down for all exporters.

Incorporating related forms

The revision of the export legislation will incorporate current reforms and will allow for future reforms to be accommodated as required. The outcome of this is more responsive legislation that is able to meet current and future importing requirements.

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Key points

  • We’re modernising agricultural export legislation, making it more flexible to ensure Australia can meet future trade demands.
  • The improved legislation will allow for the smooth implementation of future reforms, without impacting those already underway.
  • Recent reforms that will be incorporated into the improved legislation include: – livestock export certification reforms – consolidation of quota administration regulation – reform of cost recovery arrangements
  • The improved legislation will be implemented before 1 April 2020.
  • Register your interest in updates at: agriculture.gov.au/export-regulation-review.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is modernising agricultural export legislation, making it more flexible to ensure Australia can meet its future trade demands.

Ongoing legislative developments form a part of the agricultural export environment and are necessary to ensure export laws remain current and effective.

The revision of the export legislation will incorporate recent reforms and will allow for future improvements to be accommodated as needed. The outcome is more responsive legislation, able to better meet current and future importing requirements. The improved legislation will be implemented prior to 1 April 2020.

What's being incorporated

Livestock export certification reforms

Livestock certification reforms will be included in the improved legislation.

As of 1 January 2017, all livestock exporters are required to have entered into an approved arrangement with the department to export livestock under the Export Control (Animals) Order 2004.

This reform creates consistency with other export commodities that already operate under approved arrangements, including meat, dairy, eggs and fish exports.

Find out more at Exporting live animals.

Consolidation of regulation regarding quota administration

Consolidation of quota administration regulation will also be incorporated into the improved exporting framework.

A Regulation Impact Statement is currently being drafted to determine if quota systems can be streamlined and the legislation further consolidated.

Find out more at Export quotas.

Reform of cost recovery arrangements

New fees and charges came into effect on 1 December 2015.

The reforms aligned Australia’s export certification system with an efficient and effective cost recover model, which is consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.

As these arrangements have recently been subject to reforms, further amendments to the fees and charges fall outside the scope of this project. The recently updated arrangements will nonetheless be incorporated into the new Bill.

Find out more at How we set cost recovery fees and levies.

Benefits to exporters of incorporating reforms

Developing and implementing improvements to the agricultural export legislation will continue to allow for the recognition of established requirements and standards, including the above reforms. This will support new and ongoing reforms into the future.

Certifying goods

The new legislation will improve the department’s capacity to certify that goods meet importing country requirements.

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Key points

  • The regulation of goods provides assurance to trading partners on the integrity of Australian exports.
  • The improved legislation will enable exporters to respond more quickly to changes in importing country requirements.
  • Your feedback will help us deliver these improvements. Register your interest at Improving agricultural export legislation.

Regulating agricultural exports

The current agricultural export legislation provides the basis for the regulation of exports and enables the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to set conditions that must be met to comply with importing country requirements.

These conditions include preparing, packaging and handling goods, transportation and registration of export establishments. Export legislation also provides the authority for officials to carry out inspections and certification activities along the supply chain.

These activities enable the department to provide assurance for the integrity of our agricultural exports to overseas countries which helps in maintaining and expanding markets.

Goods we regulate

The types of goods that the export regulation applies to can generally be divided into two categories: prescribed goods and non-prescribed goods.

Prescribed goods have specific export conditions placed on them to ensure they are fit for export to Australia’s trading partners, who set import conditions.

Government to Government certification may not be required for a range of goods, so exports are not prohibited and routine export controls are not imposed. If an importing country does require certification for a non-prescribed good, exporters can apply to the department to determine the procedures to be followed, and the requirements to be satisfied, for the issuance of a certificate.

Improving legislation

The trade environment has changed significantly since the current legislation was introduced. New products, as well as improvements in market access, have led to an increase in the number of goods the department has been requested to certify. Our processes need to adapt to the changing trade environment.

The improved legislation will better articulate how types of goods can be certified. It will also provide greater flexibility by allowing exporters to demonstrate how they have met importing country requirements for non-prescribed goods. This will enable exporters to respond quicker to changing importing country requirements.

Authorised Officers

Authorised Officers provide important assurance to our trading partners as to the effectiveness of Australia’s agricultural export controls. The improved legislation will include clearer requirements on the appointment and obligations of Authorised Officers.

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Implementation – fact sheet to come

The improved legislation will be implemented before 1 April 2020, when large parts of the existing framework are due to expire. The department will make sure that stakeholders are well aware of the start date of the new framework.

Stakeholder consultation

Drafting of the improved export legislation will take place over the next couple of years. This provides plenty of time to have your say during its development. The department is looking to work with you on what the improved legislation will mean for you and your business, ahead of its introduction in April 2020.

Engagement and consultation is an on ongoing priority. Throughout the improvement process we will continue to work with exporters, industries, producers and trading partners.

Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide submissions on the improved export legislation during two consultation periods.

First consultation

This first consultation period, scheduled for 2017, will focus on the improved Export Control Bill.

The Bill will set out the overarching principles for the operation of the export control system. It will incorporate the parts of existing export legislation and the export control orders that are common across commodities.

Commodity specific requirements will be covered in the second consultation period as part of the Export Control Rules.

Second consultation

The second consultation period will focus on the Export Control Rules (the Rules) and is scheduled for 2018.

The Rules will replace the current orders and will outline operational requirements that agricultural exporters must meet—such as where and how products are to be prepared, and when permits and certificates are necessary to export from Australia.

The Rules will include the specific requirements exporters must meet for each commodity in order to export it from Australia.

Getting involved

The department will be holding information sessions around the country during the consultation periods.

Register your interest below for project updates, including attending an information session, or to seek further information.

 

Register your interest to be contacted about improving agriculture export legislation

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