Public consultation on Australia’s agricultural export legislation

​The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources announced on 25 August 2017 that the draft Export Control Bill is available for comment.

A Regulatory Impact Statement has also been developed to assist with explaining the potential changes to Australia’s agricultural export legislation.

Consultation will close on 24 October 2017.​

As part of a wider initiative to strengthen agricultural exports and market access, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is improving the current agricultural export legislative framework.

Public consultation on the draft Export Control Bill 2017 is now open. Exporters, industry, trading partners and members of the public have 60 days to provide comment on the draft Export Control Bill 2017 and associated Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).

This is an opportunity for you to review the draft legislation, and to provide comment as to whether it is ‘fit for purpose’ and there are no unintended changes to your business practices.

We will consider the outcomes from discussions, comments and written submissions provided during the consultation period.

The scope of this consultation is confined to the draft Export Control Bill 2017 and associated RIS. Requests for substantive policy change cannot be addressed through this consultation. The Bill will be supported by Rules which will be developed throughout 2018.

The consultation period on the Bill will close on 24 October 2017. This will enable the Bill to be considered by Parliament, the Rules to be developed, and implementation of the full framework to be carefully considered by 2020.

Find out more about the development of the draft Bill.

Previous consultation

Australia's Agricultural Export Regulation Review 2015, found scope to make improvements to enable us to better support exporters, farmers and other primary producers in this changing trade environment.

Draft Export Control Bill

The draft legislation will consolidate export-related requirements from 17 Acts (including the Export Control Act 1982 and the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997) and more than 40 legislative instruments (such as Regulations and Orders) that currently make up the existing agricultural export legislation framework. A single Export Control Bill and Export Control Rules will be created. The new legislative framework will be streamlined, easier to understand and use and more responsive to changes in market access requirements.

Export Control Rules will include many of the Commodity specific requirements that are currently found in the Export Control Orders. These will be developed and consulted on in 2018.

Exposure Draft Export Control Bill 2017

Exposure Draft Export Control Bill 2017: Outline

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1: Reduced complexity, duplication and ambiguity making legislation easier to understand, administer and use

The proposed legislative framework consists of a single Act for export functions (The Export Control Bill), which incorporates all agricultural export–related matters.

  • Requirements in the current Orders and Regulations that are common across commodities (such as requirements related to the administration of export control function–­application, variation, suspension and revocation) will be moved into the Act, making it easier to find and use these requirements.
  • Other parts of the Orders and Regulations will be consolidated into the Export Control Rules.

The Export Control Bill consolidates export-related requirements across commodity Orders into one set of provisions (for example, the issue of certificates, export permits, registered establishments, approved arrangements, accredited properties and audit and inspection).

The proposed Export Control Bill contains a single character test. This ensures that people or companies seeking approval to be involved in export activities, which give them a privileged position, are suitable and responsible entities.

The proposed legislation provides a single set of provisions for approved arrangements which can be used for different export functions at different points in the supply chain and for different commodities.

  • The Export Control Rules will detail where an arrangement is required. This will not result in a change to current business processes.

The proposed framework contains a standardised set of definitions to ensure that terminology and regulatory applications across commodities is consistent.

The proposed framework includes a consolidated set of provisions for merit review of decisions made by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (or delegate) and authorised officers.

  • These provisions largely reflect the powers within the current framework, but have been consolidated into a single set of requirements, which will be much easier to understand and administer.
  • An internal review is conducted by another person in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources at a more senior level (rather than the original decision maker), and an external merits review is conducted by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Including express provisions in the Export Control Billabout the use and disclosure of protected and sensitive information makes it clear how information will be managed. This includes making information available, subject to authorisation, to employees and officer of the Commonwealth or a State and Territory Governments for a secondary permissible purpose, for an enforcement related activity, as required by another Australian law or where the person to whom the information relates gives consent.

  • It also allows the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to make better use of the information it holds to facilitate exports and where appropriate, to use that information for purposes such as managing biosecurity. The ability to share information with other Commonwealth agencies and State and Territory Governments will further enhance the integrity of the export and biosecurity systems and support stronger compliance and enforcement.

2: Swifter Government responses to changes in market conditions while maintaining overall level of oversight to maintain market access

The proposed legislation allows the Australian Government to be more responsive to changes in the global trade environment by providing Rules, to replace the current Orders.

It provides clear powers for the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, with a suite of regulatory options that can be applied to ensure the requirements of importing countries are met.

The Export Control Rules will be a disallowable instrument and is therefore subject to Parliamentary ‘checks and balances’. The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources will be able to issue directions to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in relation to the performance of functions or the exercise of powers in making Rules.

3: Improved options for exporters in getting not specifically prescribed goods to market

The proposed legislation will allow the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to expand the definitions of goods, where it is appropriate to do so.

For example, where certification or regulatory oversight is required by:

  • an importing country (this excludes commercial requirements);
  • international agreements;
  • sanitary requirements; or
  • other Australian laws.

This will provide the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources with better mechanisms to provide assurances to trading partners that our exported goods meet their requirements.

4: More appropriate and proportionate responses to non-compliance leading to fairer outcomes for exporters and better protection for our trading reputation

The new framework will consolidate the monitoring and investigation powers and will adopt the provisions of the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014. This will include a graduated enforcement regime to allow for a proportionate response to non-compliance.

The stepped approach will range from issuing infringement notices, suspending export activities, to more serious penalties such as criminal charges

5: Clearer provisions – particularly around third-party authorised officers, product integrity and traceability

The proposed legislation incorporates the requirements relating to the appointment and obligations of third party authorised officers into the legislation.

Where agreed by our trading partners, the use of third-party authorised officers can increase the responsiveness of exporters, to respond to changing import requirements.

The improvements provide more transparency that the performance of third-party authorised officers is consistent with that of government employees undertaking the same tasks.

The proposed legislation sets out:

  • circumstances where an appointment ceases to have effect (suspended), or is revoked;
  • provisions relating to performance of functions and exercise of powers; and
  • sanctions for authorised officers who are non-compliant with the terms of their employment.

Regulation Impact Statement

We are seeking comments on a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) examining potential changes to Australia’s agricultural export legislation. The RIS examines a number of options and possible benefits and regulatory impact associated with each option.

The consultation RIS presents two legislative framework options:

  • Option one — maintain the current legislative framework, or
  • Option two — consolidate and improve the framework with streamlined and modernised legislation.

We are seeking comments on the RIS to help us:

  • better understand your views on the impact of the proposed changes
  • identify opportunities to further streamline agricultural export legislation
  • check the accuracy of the assumptions which underpin the regulatory burden estimates
  • explore other potential regulatory burden savings that may arise from the proposed legislation.

Regulation Impact Statement

Regulation Impact Statement for consultation

Download

DocumentPagesFile size
Regulation Impact Statement for consultation PDF22.03 MB

Online content

  • A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) for consultation has been released with the exposure draft of the Export Control Bill 2017.
  • We’re seeking stakeholder feedback on options presented and the associated regulatory impacts or savings resulting from the proposed legislation.
  • Your input will help us to understand the impacts of the proposed changes and validate the assumptions used in the cost estimates.
    Access the RIS and make a submission at agriculture.gov.au/export-legislation.

Agricultural exports make a valuable contribution to Australia’s economy—estimated at $48 billion.

Export legislation enables the Australian Government to provide assurance about the integrity of our agricultural exports to Australia’s trading partners. Protecting our reputation as a high-quality exporter ensures market access for Australian businesses now and into the future.

The existing legislative framework has served its purpose well, but much of it is due to sunset (cease to be law) in April 2020.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has now released a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) for consultation before a final decision regarding any changes to the legislative framework is made.

Regulation Impact Statement for consultation

The consultation RIS presents two legislative framework options:

  • Option one—maintain the current legislative framework, or
  • Option two—consolidate and improve the framework with streamlined and modernised legislation.

Option two is preferred, as it addresses the desired policy objectives and delivers quantifiable reductions in the regulatory burden for businesses. This is estimated at $0.388 million per year, or $3.88 million in total over ten years compared with maintaining the current regulatory framework (option one).

The department is seeking feedback on the consultation RIS to:

  • better understand your views about the impact of the proposed options
  • check the accuracy of the assumptions which underpin the cost estimates for each of the options
  • explore further opportunities for regulatory burden savings that may arise from the proposed legislation
  • identify opportunities to further streamline the agricultural export framework.

Provide feedback

Access the consultation RIS, exposure draft of the Export Control Bill 2017 and submission template on the website.

If you have questions about the consultation RIS or require further information, email the Export Legislation Taskforce.

The comment period for the RIS will close on 24 October 2017.

Information sessions

We will be holding stakeholder information sessions across the country to discuss the proposed changes to the export legislation framework.

Find a session near you

LocationDate
Canberra19 September 2017
Perth21 September 2017
Brisbane21 September 2017
Melbourne26-27 September 2017
Hobart27 September 2017
Albury28 September 2017
Adelaide10 October 2017
Sydney9-10 October 2017
Darwin12 October 2017
Cairns17 October 2017

If you’d like to attend an information session, you will need to register your interest.

More detail on the information session will be provided via invitation, once you have registered interest in attending.

Documen​ts

Please read the exposure draft of the Export Control Bill 2017, the Regulation Impact Statement before making a submission.

DocumentPagesFile size
Exposure Draft Export Control Bill 2017 PDF4672.68 MB
Exposure Draft Export Control Bill 2017 DOC4672.56 MB
Exposure Draft Export Control Bill 2017: Outline PDF7977 KB
Exposure Draft Export Control Bill 2017: Outline DOCX71.91 MB
Regulation Impact Statement PDF531.27 MB
Regulation Impact Statement DOCX53980 KB

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

Making a submission

To make a submission, read the appropriate documents and complete the form below.

If you wish to provide your submission via email, you are still required to complete the form below.

You may make a submission using this form for responses up to 500 words.

Publication of submissions

Consultation submissions received will ordinarily be published in full on the department’s website and attributed to you and your organisation (if applicable). By making a submission, you will be taken to consent to your submission and identity as the source of the submission, being published, unless you indicate otherwise.

Option to have your name withheld from list of persons and entities making submissions

If you agree to your submission being published but do not want it to be attributed to you, you should state this clearly. You should prepare your submission in a form that you agree to be published and note that you want your name to be withheld.

Option to make a confidential submission

Alternatively, if you request that your submission or some parts of it are dealt with confidentially, the department will not publish your submission and will not use or disclose the submission for other purposes without your consent, unless legally required to do so. You must identify information in your submission or any supporting documents that you want treated as confidential and provide reasons for the request. The department reserves the right to accept or refuse your request to treat information as confidential.

The department reserves the right to refuse to publish submissions, or parts of submissions, that contain offensive language, potentially defamatory material or copyright infringing material, or material with the personal or business information of third parties without their consent to publish the information.

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* represents mandatory field

Details

you may make a submission via this form for submissions under 500 words. For submissions over 500 words, please complete this form and email your submission to exportlegislation@agriculture.gov.au. Please ensure you use the same email address to send us your submission as the one you enter on this form above.
Please ensure you use the same email address to send us your submission as the one you enter on this form above.
If you select 'Yes - in part', you need to clearly indicate which parts are confidential in your submission.



Privacy Notice

‘Personal information’ means any information or opinion about an identified, or reasonably identifiable, individual.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources collects your personal information (as defined in the Privacy Act 1988) in relation to this submission for the purposes of gathering the opinions of stakeholders in response to improvements to the export control bill and related purposes.

You are under no obligation to provide personal information but if you do not, the panel and the department will be unable to contact you to discuss or respond to your submission and will be unable to acknowledge you as the author of the submission.

The department may disclose your personal information to Commonwealth/State agencies and other persons or organisations where necessary for above purposes, provided the disclosure is consistent with relevant laws, in particular the Privacy Act.

The department will generally publish your submission, or part thereof, including your personal information on it’s website, unless you have indicated that you do not consent to this.

In providing a submission, you are consenting to your personal information being used and disclosed, including being published on the department’s website.

Should a request be made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for a submission, access will be determined in accordance with provisions under that Act.

Your personal information will be used and stored in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles.

See the department’s Privacy Policy (www.agriculture.gov.au/about/privacy) to learn more about accessing or correcting personal information or making a complaint. Alternatively, telephone the department on +61 2 6272 3933.

Declaration

To be completed by the person making the submission.

I have read and understood the Privacy Notice.

I understand that the department may disclose my personal information to other Commonwealth/State agencies and other persons or organisations for the purpose of (improving export legislation).

I understand that if I provide personal information about an individual other than myself, I must make that person aware of the Privacy Notice in this form and draw their attention to the Privacy Notice and privacy policy.