Property Identification Reforms

Australia’s agricultural and food traceability systems are currently the focus of a number of pieces of work, including reforms to property identification arrangements. This work is looking at opportunities to enhance Australia’s traceability arrangements across animal, plant and food industries, to benefit the management of pest and disease outbreaks, food safety, trade and market access requirements, and address increasing consumer interest in product sustainability, ethics and providence.

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What is a property identifier?

A property identifier (or property identification code) is a unique number issued by your state or territory government to properties with livestock (and in Victoria, for vineyards of over 0.5 ha or properties with more than 20 chestnut trees) and forms the basis of a traceability system.

What are the proposed changes?

The proposed changes will also result in property identifiers being issued for properties involved in the major plant production sectors, including properties that are part of the supply chain.

A rigorous and consistent approach to identifying properties involved in animal and major plant production, processing and distribution is key building block to develop a robust traceability system. As a result, all governments have committed to deliver nationally harmonised property identification arrangements across the sectors. This involves agreeing on a set of principles and business rules by the end of 2019 with necessary legislative changes in place by the end of 2022. The proposed reforms to property identification arrangements will:

  • help to ensure we continue to meet the increasing expectations of consumers, both domestic and overseas, and importing countries;
  • in the event of a biosecurity or food safety incident, support swift and targeted action while minimising business disruption to those unaffected or uninvolved; and
  • see regulatory requirements operating alongside/supporting industry tracing systems and needs, avoiding unnecessary costs.

Following this a property identifier will be mandatory for properties used for keeping livestock and/or growing plants, and within the supply chain for domestic use and/or export. A unique property identifier is initially proposed for the following major plant production sectors: melons, berries, packaged sprouts and leaves, citrus, mangoes and bananas. Other plant sectors are intended to be captured in the future.

Principles for a unique property identifier

The following draft principles will be used as the basis for any changes to property identification arrangements, with underpinning business rules providing further detail.

  • There will be a consistent property identification approach across animal and plant industries, to the extent possible.
  • A property will consist of one or more contiguous parcel(s) of land operated as a single business under the same ownership.
  • There is to be a unique identifier establishing the physical location of the property.
  • As the default position, there should be only one identifier per property.
  • A property identifier will be mandatory for properties used:
    • for keeping livestock
    • for growing plants, and
    • within the supply chain for domestic use or export.
  • Property identifier data must include property owner (business operator) name and contact details; property street address; the type(s) of enterprise(s) being conducted; animal or plant products on the property; associated enterprise/property ownership details; and property pest and disease status. 
  • Data is to be updated regularly.
  • Property identifiers and associated data is to be shared to the maximum amount permitted, consistent with privacy legislation, amongst the Commonwealth, states, territories, research laboratories and industry, as appropriate.
  • Property identifier data is to be provided to, and integrated with, existing and future livestock and plant traceability systems, and export certification.
  • Governance arrangements that identify roles and responsibilities of government and industry system participants and ensure consistency of implementation between jurisdictions will be established.

How are we engaging industry?

We will work with industry groups (and their members) on the design and implementation of this work. This will mean changes to existing arrangements and will likely have resourcing implications. In addition to your views on the principles themselves, we are interested in:

  • how the proposed changes will affect your specific industry
  • ways to minimise disruptions from these changes, including potential integration with existing or anticipated industry led tracing or quality assurance systems
  • what points in the supply chain will require a property identifier
  • options to enhance system compliance.

How can you get involved?

We will be engaging stakeholders through a range existing industry and government forums, such as national and state and territory-level industry committee meetings and biosecurity roundtables. 

Written feedback can also be provided through a Have Your Say page (available shortly). This will include the proposed principles and business rules. Your feedback can also be provided confidentially through this webpage.