Improving agricultural export legislation

We are improving Australia’s agricultural export legislation. This is part of our wider initiative to strengthen and grow Australian agricultural exports and market access.

Improved legislative framework

Australia’s agricultural export legislation underpins our reputation as a supplier of safe and reliable food and other products. It also assures our trading partners that Australian exports meet their requirements.

Agricultural exports are currently regulated by over 20 Acts and 40 pieces of delegated legislation. We are consolidating and streamlining existing export-related requirements. The new legislative framework will include:

  • the Export Control Bill 2019
  • the Export Control Rules 2020.

The improved legislative framework will replace:

  • the existing Export Control Act 1982
  • export-related provisions in the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997
  • legislative instruments, such as Orders and Regulations.

Some of the current legislation was due to ‘sunset’ (cease to be law) on 1 April 2020. The Attorney-General signed a certificate on 16 September 2019 to defer the sunsetting of 19 legislative instruments under the Export Control Act 1982 and the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997 until 1 April 2021.

The improvements will make the legislation more relevant, responsive and efficient for exporters, farmers and other primary producers. It will still provide strong regulation while removing duplication and ensuring consistency across commodities where possible. We remain committed to meeting our trading partners’ importing country requirements.

Key areas of improvement include:

  • Streamlining and consolidating
  • Compliance and enforcement
  • Incorporating related reforms
  • Certifying goods
  • Authorised Officers.

Find out more about the improvements on the Have Your Say pages for:

Thank you for your submissions. We will advise of any further amendments to the legislation. Register for updates.

Previous export legislation consultation

We have previously consulted on:

Initial review

We reviewed Australia’s agricultural export legislation between July and September 2015.

We aimed to assess how we could improve the legislation to keep it relevant into the future. The review also satisfied our requirement to review delegated export legislation before 2020 (under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003).

During the review, we:

  • analysed existing legislation
  • released a discussion paper
  • called for public submissions
  • held stakeholder workshops in all states and territories.

We consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including trading partners, industry representatives, exporters and producers. The consultation report summarises what we heard.

We found that the existing legislative framework has served our exporters well, but there is room for improvement. We recommended some improvements to government. The improvements will better support farmers and exporters to:

  • meet future importing country requirements
  • seize trade opportunities in a changing global environment.

Based on the review, the government decided to improve agricultural export legislation.

Find out more about the Agricultural Export Regulation Review 2015 on the Have Your Say page.

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Export Control Bill 2019

The Export Control Bill 2019 is the key piece of primary legislation in the new framework. It will ensure:

  • exported goods meet the requirements of importing countries
  • government and relevant industry standards are complied with
  • goods are traceable throughout the export supply chain—from production and processing to exporting—where required
  • the integrity of goods, and the accuracy of applied trade descriptions and official marks, are maintained.

The Export Control Bill 2017 was introduced into Parliament on 7 December 2017. It lapsed following the call for the 2019 General Election.

The draft Export Control Bill 2019 is now open for public consultation and we are working with government to determine when the Bill will be re-introduced.

Export Control Rules 2020

The Export Control Rules 2020 are based on the current Export Control Orders.

The rules will outline the requirements agricultural exporters must meet to export specific commodities. This includes requirements on:

  • where and how products are prepared
  • when permits and certificates are necessary to export from Australia.

The rules will be legislative instruments under the improved Export Control Act. They will be made by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and will be subject to parliamentary checks and balances, in line with the current Orders.

Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019

This Bill will repeal and amend other Acts and provide for transition from the old legislation to the new.

Wherever possible, something that exists under the old legislation (such as an approved arrangement) will continue in force under the new legislation.

Imposition Amendment Bills 2019

The Imposition Amendment Bills are:

  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Customs) Amendment Bill 2019
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Excise) Amendment Bill 2019
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-General) Amendment Bill 2019

These Bills will make consequential amendments to existing Imposition Acts:

  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Customs) Act 2015
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Excise) Act 2015
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-General) Act 2015

Next steps

We will continue to develop and consult on draft Export Control Rules. This will include rules for:

  • wood and wood chips
  • poultry
  • rabbit and ratite
  • wild game
  • plant
  • organic produce
  • live animal exports
  • animal food and pharmaceutical material
  • non-prescribed goods (certification)
  • tariff rate quota export.

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