The Export Control (Animals) Rules 2021 state that a livestock exporter must hold a livestock export licence. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is responsible for issuing a livestock export licence if an application for a licence meets criteria for issue that are set out in the Export Control Act 2020.
Obtaining an export licence
To obtain a livestock export licence, the applicant must apply in writing, provide an audited financial statement and provide an Australian Federal Police criminal history check for each person to be listed in management and control of the licence.
More details about obtaining an export licence can be found on the Obtaining an export licence page.
To export livestock, licenced exporters must have an approved arrangement or be granted an exemption from the requirement to have an approved arrangement as a small and infrequent exporter. An approved arrangement allows an exporter to export an unlimited number of consignments and unlimited head of livestock covered by their approved arrangement, over the licence period. Exporters granted small and infrequent exporter exemption may only export less than 400 animals in four or less consignments over a 12 month period. See the flowchart below.
An approved arrangement is an agreement between the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and a livestock exporter that allows a more streamlined export certification process. Approved arrangement applications take an average of 40 days to process, and can take longer if further information is required from the exporter. The approval process also includes an on-site audit to verify that your business practices match those in your approved arrangement.
For more details about how to apply for an approved arrangement, please see the Obtaining an approved arrangement page.
Prior to the introduction of approved arrangements, exporters were required to submit an operations and governance manual with their export licence. Since September 2016, new exporters have had the option to provide either an approved arrangement or an operations and governance manual with their licence application. However, an operations and governance manual does not allow exporters to export unless they also have an approved arrangement (see above) or a small and infrequent exporter exemption (see below).
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has published Guidelines for an operations and governance manual to assist applicants.
After completing an operations and governance manual, exporters who export small numbers of animals infrequently are able to apply for an exemption from having an approved arrangement as a small and infrequent exporter. Exporters may be eligible for this exemption if they export less than 400 animals in four or less consignments over a 12 month period, and will only be able to export to the same limits over the financial year of application. Exporters who have this exemption also have a reduced annual licence levy of $5 000.
If exporters with a small and infrequent exemption intend to export more than 400 animals or more than 4 consignments in a 12 month period they must apply for an approved arrangement.
For more details about obtaining a small and infrequent exemption please see the ‘Small and infrequent exemption’ page.
For more details about approved arrangements, please see the Obtaining an approved arrangement page.
Fees and charges
Information about fees for exporting livestock can be found in the department’s charging guidelines.
For more information, please see the frequently asked questions page and if you can't find the answer to your question or have a general question or comment about exporting livestock please contact us.