Improving agricultural export legislation

​​​​The Export Control Bill 2017 was introduced into the Australian Parliament on 7 December 2017.The Bill and the explanatory memorandum (including the Regulation Impact Statement) that were introduced into Parliament.

Work on the legislative instrument to support the new Act (the Export Control Rules) will commence in 2018. The Export Legislation Taskforce will undertake consultation on the Export Control Rules as they are developed.

The improved legislative framework will commence shortly before 1 April 2020.

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. In 2015, a review of existing legislation found there was scope to make improvements to enable better support for exporters, farmers and other primary producers in a changing trade environment.

Improved legislative framework

Improvements to the export legislative framework will make it easier to understand, administer and use, and to safeguard Australia’s reputation as a reliable, high-quality source of exports for our trading partners.

This involves consolidating existing export-related provisions into a new agricultural export legislative framework made up of an Export Control Bill 2017 and the Export Control Rules (the rules). This improved legislative framework will replace the existing Export Control Act 1982 and legislative instruments (such as Orders and Regulations).

This modern export legislative framework will mean exporters, farmers and other primary producers are supported by contemporary, responsive and efficient legislation.

The improvements incorporated into the new legislative framework will maintain existing regulatory oversight and achieve current regulatory outcomes while removing duplication and making export provisions consistent across commodities, where possible.

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

The improved legislative framework will commence shortly before 1 April 2020.

Key areas of improvements

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Streamlining and consolidating

The current agricultural export legislation is being consolidated 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 build on our existing compliance framework. This will enable us 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 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 country 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 provide the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources with better mechanisms to provide assurances to trading partners that our exported goods meet their 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

Improved legislation will provide more transparency that the performance of third-party authorised officers is consistent with that of Australian Government employees undertaking the same task.

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Export Control Bill 2017

The Export Control Bill 2017 (the Bill) sets out the overarching principles for the operation of the export control system. It incorporates the parts of existing export legislation and the export control orders that are common across commodities.

The Bill was released for public comment for 60 days from 25 August 2017 to 24 October 2017. Consultation on the Bill has concluded. Submissions and outcomes from the consultation are available on the consultation page.

The Bill was introduced into Parliament on 7 December 2017. A final RIS was included in the explanatory memorandum. The explanatory memorandum is a companion document to the Bill and it was tabled in Parliament when the Bill was introduced.

Government amendments to the Export Control Bill 2017

The government has introduced proposed amendments to the Export Control Bill 2017 in Parliament. The proposed amendments will strengthen our export framework and assist in maintaining our reputation as a world leader in the production of high quality agricultural exports.

The proposed amendments to the Bill include:

  • clarifying the definition of export operations
  • increasing the current criminal and civil penalties, and adding civil penalties where none currently exist, for offences relating to the export of goods
  • introducing offences for purporting to influence a person who is performing functions or duties, or exercising powers, under the Bill
  • introducing criminal penalties for executive officers of bodies corporate
  • empowering a court to make adverse publicity orders against offenders.

Information on the amendments has been provided to peak industry bodies, state and territory government colleagues and trading partners.

The proposed amendments to the Bill can be found on the Parliament House website.

Export Control Rules

The Export Control Rules will be based on the current Export Control commodity orders and will outline operational requirements that agricultural exporters must meet for the export of specific commodities—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. The rules are a legislative instrument that will be made under the improved Export Control Act and will still be subject to parliamentary checks and balances, in line with the current Orders.

The Export Legislation Taskforce will be developing the Export Control Rules during 2018 and 2019. Industry involvement will be important to ensure the rules are fit for purpose.

Consultation will be undertaken on the commodity specific parts of the rules as they are developed.

Schedule for the development of the rules

Please note the schedule for the development of the rules, which will be updated regularly as the project progresses.

Schedule is current as at 20 June 2018.

ChapterStatus
1. Meat rulesDrafting in progress
2. Plant rulesDrafting in progress
3. Live Animal Exports rulesDrafting in progress
4. Non-Prescribed Goods (certification)Drafting in progress
5. Common requirementsDrafting in progress
6. Poultry rulesDrafting in progress
7. Fish rulesDrafting in progress
8. Hardwood Wood Chips rulesDrafting in progress
9. Wild games rulesDrafting in progress
10. Egg rulesDrafting in progress
11. Unprocessed wood rulesDrafting in progress
12. Rabbit/Ratite rulesDrafting in progress
13. Dairy rulesDrafting in progress
14. Organics rulesDrafting in progress
15. Quota rulesDrafting to commence quarter 2 2019

* Note – Priority order for drafting rules is generally the same as the order in the table above. Although work has commenced on most orders, those at the top of the table are more progressed than those at the bottom. Consultation on the draft meat rules is expected in the next 2 – 3 months.

Get involved

Please register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities.

Register your interest

Privacy Notice:

Personal information means information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources collects your personal information (as defined by the Privacy Act 1988) in relation to this form for the purposes of supplying you with updates and consultation opportunities on improvements to agricultural export legislation and related purposes. If you fail to provide some or all of the personal information requested in this form, the department may be unable to provide you with updates or consultation opportunities related to improvements to agricultural export legislation.

The department may disclose your personal information to other Australian government agencies, persons or organisations where necessary for the above purposes, provided the disclosure is consistent with relevant laws, in particular the Privacy Act. Your personal information will be used and stored in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles.

See the department's Privacy Policy to learn more about accessing or correcting personal information or making a complaint. Alternatively, telephone the department on +61 2 6272 3933.

 

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