Improving agricultural export legislation

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Australian Government is improving agricultural export legislation, to better support farmers and exporters in a changing trade environment.

Our current export legislation sets out the rules that govern how products can be exported and enables the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to:

  • oversee the export supply chain
  • provide assurance to our trading partners of the integrity of Australia’s exports.

This assurance underpins Australia’s reputation as a reliable, high-quality source of exports, which helps us gain and maintain export opportunities across new and existing markets.

Reforming our current export legislation

Under the Legislation Act 2003, the current pieces of delegated export legislation will cease to be law on 1 April 2020.

We are taking advantage of this opportunity to carry out a two-stage reform of the legislation, in consultation with industry and stakeholders, to identify, develop and implement potential improvements to export legislation.

Modernising our export legislation will mean farmers and exporters are supported by contemporary, flexible, and efficient legislation that can respond to future needs.

Changes are designed to:

  • make it simpler for exporters and farmers to understand and apply the rules; and
  • create opportunities for exporters and farmers to innovate

There will be no change to Australia’s commitment to meet the importing country requirements of our trading partners.

Improvements also include broader monitoring, investigative and enforcement powers to deter rogue exporters from bringing the system down for everyone.

We will transition into the new legislation by 2020, giving exporters time to learn about changes and update export systems and practices.

Stage 1—review and stakeholder consultation

Stage 1 took place between July and September 2015 and involved:

  • analysing existing legislation
  • releasing a discussion paper
  • calls for public submissions
  • stakeholder workshops in all states and territories.

We also consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including trading partners, industry representatives, exporters and producers.

This review found the existing legislation has served our exporters well, but there was scope for improvements to better support farmers and exporters to meet future importing country requirements and trade opportunities.

Trade-specific issues and importing country requirements were not considered as part of this review.

Thank you to all who took part in this first stage of consultation.

Read the submissions and our final review report.

Stage 2—developing and implementing improvements

Stage 2 of the reform is now underway.

Identified improvements to the existing legislation include:

  • creating a consolidated set of regulations that are easier to understand and can flexibly respond to a range of contemporary issues (including changing importing country requirements)
  • broader monitoring, investigative and enforcement powers to deal with breaches or acts of non-compliance (including infringement notices, enforceable undertakings, civil penalties, and greater penalties for aggravated conduct)
  • clearer rules for undertaking verification activities (such as audits and inspections) across the supply chain​
  • clearer requirements on the appointment and obligations of authorised officers (who perform functions and exercise powers under the legislation.)

These improvements to legislation will allow government and industry to continue working together to meet importing country requirements, minimise unnecessary and complex regulation, and maintain Australia’s commitment to provide strong certification assurances and fulfil international trade obligations.

Working with related reforms

We are also undertaking a series of other reforms, which will be included in the improved agricultural export legislation. These include:

Getting involved

Improving export legislation is a big task which will take place over the next couple of years.

This gives you time to have your say on the changes and for us to work with you to ensure you understand what the improved legislation will mean for you and your business ahead of its introduction in April 2020.

Engagement and consultation will be an ongoing priority. We’ll continue to work with industries, exporters, producers and trading partners throughout the reform process.

We will provide updates at key milestones throughout this process.

Register to receive updates from the department.


Register your interest to be contacted about improving agriculture export legislation

More information

Find out more about what these changes will mean for you by downloading and reading our factsheet.




File type

File size

Improving Agricultural Export Legislation



3.3 MB

Improving Agricultural Export Legislation



2.2 MB

If you have difficulty accessing this file, visit web accessibility for assistance.

If you have any questions, you can email us at Export Regulation Review or call 1800 900 090. ​