As the regulator, we are committed to continuous improvement. We have several live animal export reform activities in progress. These are designed to:
- increase the efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of our regulatory administration
- increase the transparency of our regulatory activities
- provide increased assurance on the effectiveness of our regulatory framework.
These reform activities also address many key recommendations from recent reviews.
We have several key projects underway to reform live animal exports.
Australia’s agricultural trade reform
We are transforming Australia’s agricultural trade export services by:
- making more services available online
- streamlining processes for producers to export
- safeguarding Australia’s reputation as a reliable, high-quality exporter.
The investment into trade reform initiatives is significant and includes $455.4 million for The Busting Congestion for Agricultural Exporters package. This package aims to grow and strengthen the agricultural export sector.
These reforms will ensure:
- it is easier for producers and exporters to get their goods to market
- Australian products are of the highest standard
- Australian products meet our trading partners requirements.
The Busting Congestion package includes the following initiatives relevant to live animal exports:
- Digital Services to Take Farmers to Market: This initiative will streamline Australia’s agricultural export services. This investment is delivering modern digital and information technology capabilities. This will help exporters by making more transactions available online through a single export account. This will also make the experience faster and more cost effective.
- Improving Regulation Post–COVID-19 including targeted interventions for seafood and live animal exports. This initiative will build a modern, reliable data reporting and analytics capability to support risk-based, data-led regulation. This will also ensure regulation is timely, cost-effective and targeted.
We also have a suite of projects agreed with the livestock export industry via a roundtable working group that aim to improve the regulatory framework.
We are streamlining the administration process of approved arrangements by:
- improving business processes, guidance material and IT systems
- striking a better balance between checking individual consignments and exporters’ systems
- making regulatory action on non-compliance more responsive, proportionate, and predictable.
What we have achieved
Outlined in these tables are components of this project we have completed:
|Develop and implement a risk-based and streamlined process for assessing notices of intention (NOIs) to export. The new process has reduced NOI assessment times by about a third. This has led to an average cost reduction of $89 per NOI in fees paid by exporters.||Delivered in October 2021|
|Trial a new process to assess NOIs from Darwin to Indonesia by sea to accommodate the realities of this market. The trial looked at if we could assess NOIs within five business days prior to export, instead of ten business days. Feedback and data analyses from the trial have shown some time and cost savings. The trial confirmed that consignment details are still changing even at five business days prior to export. We will use these findings to inform future reform work.||Trial conducted from October 2021 – August 2022|
|Automation of the National Livestock Identification System tag check process for cattle consignments to China. This has reduced the NOI assessment process by 4.3 hours. It has reduced the cost per China cattle NOI by an average of $500 for exporters.||Released in November 2021|
|Review and publish an updated list of core documents for livestock exporters with approved arrangements.||Released in December 2021|
We are also modernising the Tracking Animal Certification for Export (TRACE) system. Enhancements we have completed or progressed are outlined here.
|Centralising the storage of exporter Approved Arrangement/Approved Export Program documents. This improves the accessibility of information to us and exporters.||Released in October 2022|
|Providing automated advice on what export documents the exporter must submit to us according to the export market. As part of this work, we are streamlining the management of consignment documents.||Released in December 2021|
|Automating the identification of changes made to an NOI after each variation.||Released in April 2022|
|Extending the capability of TRACE to record time spent on cost recovered activities. This enhancement supports more efficient and accurate invoicing and reporting.||Released in April 2022|
|Enabling exporters to upload multiple documents simultaneously and improving document management.||Released in May 2022|
|Automating the verification of information held across different databases.||Ongoing|
|Incorporating the risk based and streamlined process for assessing NOIs into TRACE. This digitises elements of the process.||Released in October 2022|
We identified the current performance and compliance framework as a barrier to implementing more risk-based and targeted regulatory approaches.
To learn more about our stakeholder's concerns with the current framework, we conducted approximately 121 hours of detailed user research with:
- accredited veterinarians
- department staff
- registered establishment occupiers.
This research data is being used to inform improvements in the performance and compliance framework including the development digital regulatory tools.
Performance and compliance framework.
We are co-designing an improved live animal export performance and compliance framework with relevant stakeholders. This framework will be supported by digital tools to build a complete view of exporter compliance across the supply chain.
This will allow us to:
- support exporters to continuously improve their performance
- respond to non-compliance in a more targeted, timely, predictable and proportionate way
- adapt our assurance and compliance measures based on performance
- reduce the regulatory burden on compliant exporters while maintaining the integrity of the trade.
We are building digital tools which will improve compliance data reporting and analysis to better inform how we manage risk and compliance. We are testing these tools with a sample of relevant stakeholders and making improvements to ensure they are ready for use.
This work will also:
- reduce regulatory burdens and costs to exporters
- improve visibility of exporter compliance history throughout the supply chain
- improve targeting and streamlining of our assessments
- improve consistency of service delivery.
We are reviewing and revising the independent observer program. This includes exploring industry led trials around the use of technology on vessels to provide similar assurance to the physical deployment of an observer.
This aims to:
- integrate the independent observer program into our assurance framework,
- reduce the cost of the program without reducing assurance of animal health and welfare outcomes.
In August 2022, the draft findings and recommendations from the integrated audit and assurance framework project were handed to the streamlining approved arrangements administration project to progress.
This project follows on from recommendations of the Moss Review and internal feedback.
Accredited veterinarians (AAVs) play an important role in the regulatory framework. They ensure the health and welfare of livestock before export and during some voyages. By strengthening the AAV program, we can be assured that AAVs and exporters are meeting:
- animal health and welfare standards
- importing country requirements.
This project aims to increase clarity on AAVs’:
- reporting requirements.
This will be achieved through further engagement, training and auditing of AAVs.
What we have achieved
Our key deliverables for this project are outlined here.
|Updating the AAVet accreditation course. The new course includes updated legislation, ASEL standards and process changes. This is the first major update of the AAVet course since 2013. Animal Health Australia is the host of the course on our behalf.||Complete|
|Updating resources on our AAV webpage. This provides more information on the role and responsibilities of AAVs. It also provides current information and training advice for AAVs||Complete|
|Developing the ASEL rejection criteria guidebooks. These promote the understanding and consistent application of the ASEL rejection criteria.||Complete|
|Developing an improved audit and assurance program for AAVs. We expect this program to establish an audit process and clarify AAV:
|Identifying gaps in training and education resources for new and existing AAVs. We will consult with AAVs on options for new training resources.||In planning|
|Recommencing our post-voyage debriefs with AAVs. This will allow for detailed feedback and data sharing opportunities.||Underway|
This project focuses on building a modern and reliable data reporting and analytics capability. This will support timely and efficient regulation of all live animal exports. We will achieve this through the development of a digital and integrated reporting model. This will connect live animal export data across the live export supply chain.
This will allow:
- better identification of trends and potential risks in the live export supply chain
- us to implement targeted risk-based regulation and policy measures.
What we have achieved
Our key deliverables for this project include:
- building a single integrated reporting model for live animal exports
- improving our collection, handling and use of data captured under the regulatory framework
- replacing manual data processes with digital solutions through system enhancements and systems development
- transitioning to Power BI as a visualisation tool. This makes data more accessible to users and supports regulatory functions and operations.
- securing access to external live animal export data systems. This includes developing an automated data transfer system to receive and store regulatory LIVEXCollect data. LIVEXCollect standardises data entry and reporting, allowing improved data aggregation and analysis.
We estimate that this project will reduce our costs by $202,546 a year by the conclusion of the project. This will be through time saved on data cleansing, manipulation, and analysis. Administrative time will also be saved by making data more accessible for our staff.
The project’s purpose was to ensure our external communications are clear and transparent. This is to ensure stakeholders are confident of our requirements and approach to regulation. We also developed policies and procedures to better engage with relevant stakeholders. This means that interested parties can be confident we will hear their views on policy matters.
This project concluded in June 2022.
What we achieved
Our key deliverables for this project included:
- updating the livestock client service standards
- publication of a stakeholder and communication engagement policy
- reviewing all our webpages to ensure information is current, helpful and easy to find. We updated several webpages and removed webpages with outdated information.
- creating a new process for market access notices (MANs), to inform exporters of market access information related to live animals
- reviewing the current list of EANs and migration of information to appropriate webpages. To date this has reduced the list of EANs containing ongoing regulatory requirements from around 180 down to 18, making it easier to check which EANs still apply. This ensures information is easy to find and is only located in one place.
Animal welfare in livestock exports
We monitor welfare outcomes and conduct regular reviews related to the welfare of livestock for export to inform policy and standards development. Reviews of livestock exports outcomes also guide our reform activities. They help us create better export conditions, standards and regulations. This leads to improved health and welfare of exported livestock.
The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) are regularly updated to ensure the standards reflect industry and regulatory developments, and the best available science and evidence.
The Inspector-General for Live Animal Exports (IGLAE) also conducts regular reviews.
Historical events, reviews and reforms
Based on recommendations from the Review of live sheep exports by sea to, or through, the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer, on 1 April 2023 amendments to the Export Control (Animals) Rules 2021 commenced. This implemented recommendations to support better welfare outcomes for sheep travelling to, or through, the Middle East during the non-prohibited Northern Hemisphere summer periods.
The final report of the Heat and cold stress in Bos taurus cattle from southern Australia during long-haul export by sea review was published.
The final report of the Review of live sheep exports by sea to, or through, the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer was published.
|ASEL 3.2 commenced. It included updates to clarify requirements and reduce ambiguity.||November 2021||Reform|
|ASEL 3.1 commenced. It incorporated changes in line with new export legislation.||March 2021||Reform|
|New and updated legislation implemented that is easy to understand. New laws support our livestock industries to innovate and be more efficient.||28 March 2021||Reform|
|We started collecting ASEL reports using LIVEXCollect.
LIVEXCollect, built by LiveCorp, standardised data entry and reporting. This improved data aggregation and analysis, which helps us do our job as a regulator more efficiently and gives LiveCorp access to data for research and development activities.
|ASEL 3.0 commenced. It implemented recommendations from the 2018/19 Technical Advisory Committee review of the ASEL.||1 November 2020||Reform|
|We participated in a roundtable working group with:
|Prohibition periods were introduced for the export of live sheep to the Middle East on 1 May 2020 and is enforced under the Export Control Rules. This followed a comprehensive review of heat stress risks associated with the live sheep export trade in the Northern Hemisphere summer, considering:
||1 May 2020||Reform|
|In consultation with AMSA, we prepared the Post Implementation Review on the:
||15 September 2020||Review|
|Technical Advisory Committee review of ASEL air standards completed.||October 2019||Review|
|Following assessment of the relevant science and evidence, we prohibited the export of live sheep to the Middle East between 1 June 2019 and 31 August 2019. This was introduced under the:||April 2019||Reform|
|Technical Advisory Committee review of ASEL sea standards completed.||March 2019||Review|
|Amendments to the Export Control (Animals) Order 2004 were made. All livestock exporters must have an approved export program (AEP). This contains instructions for AAVs.||July 2018||Reform|
|In response to McCarthy Review recommendations, we set new standards for livestock vessels to the Middle East between May and October. This included:
|The McCarthy Review, initiated in response to the Awassi Express incident, was completed. It reviewed conditions of the export of sheep to the Middle East during the Northern Hemisphere summer.||May 2018||Review|
|We began the Independent Observer (IO) program. It appoints independent observers to accompany consignments of livestock on a voyage.||April 2018||Reform|
|Sixty Minutes aired footage showing unacceptable animal welfare of sheep on board the Awassi Express. Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, announced a number of measures in response:
|All exporters must have an approved arrangement to export livestock, unless they hold a small and infrequent exporter exemption.||January 2017||Reform|
|The transition to the new approved arrangements regulatory model began. From April 2016, exporters could apply for an approved arrangement. This was a significant reform, moving away from individual consignment approvals.||April 2016||Reform|
|The Livestock ESCAS report is released. The report looks at how effective ESCAS was for animal welfare outcomes and trade. It includes data and examples of how ESCAS has been useful for different markets.||January 2015||Review|
|ESCAS implemented in Egypt. This was the last of current export markets to be covered under ESCAS.||March 2014||Reform|
|Review of the ASEL and Livestock Export Standards Advisory Group (LESAG) was completed.
|We coordinated a review on behalf of the Industry Government Implementation Group (IGIG). This was in response to recommendation 14 of the Farmer Review.||April 2013||Review|
|The Fremantle Review was completed. It reviewed export inspection processes at the Port of Fremantle.||December 2012||Review|
|ESCAS implemented across all other active livestock markets except for Egypt.||December 2012||Reform|
|ESCAS expanded to Israel, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.||September 2012||Reform|
|ESCAS expanded to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Turkey.||March 2012||Reform|
|The Farmer Review was completed. This was an independent review of Australia’s livestock export trade.||August 2011||Review|
Following the suspension of trade to Indonesia, we worked with industry to develop a new regulatory model known as ESCAS.
In August 2011, the first consignment was exported to Indonesia under ESCAS.
|We released the report on the financial impact of cattle export restrictions to Indonesia.
Financial impact of cattle export restrictions to Indonesia
|The live export trade to Indonesia was suspended following an ABC 4 Corners program in May 2011. The program showed footage of mistreatment of Australian animals in Indonesian abattoirs.||June 2011||Event|
|ASEL 2.3 implemented||April 2011||Update|
|ASEL version 2.2 implemented||December 2008||Update|
|ASEL version 2.1 implemented||December 2006||Update|
|ASEL version 2 implemented||September 2006||Reform|
|The first version of the ASEL was implemented||July 2005||Reform|
|The Keniry livestock export review finalised. This review was triggered by sheep mortalities on the MV Cormo Express. Saudi Arabia had refused to allow the vessel to unload sheep in August 2003. The review recommended a national welfare standard for livestock exports.||December 2003||Review|
|Saudi Arabia rejected a shipment of 57,000 sheep on board the MV Cormo Express. This was due to the sheep being infected with scabby mouth.||2003||Event|
|New legislation was introduced:
|The Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 were introduced.
Exporters of live animals must apply for a permit.
|The Quarantine (Animals) Regulations 1935 were introduced. A government-approved veterinary surgeon must examine all animals within 48 hours of shipment. Livestock must be healthy and meet quarantine requirements of the importing country. The vet issues a Certificate of Health and a Permit to Embark to animals that met conditions. Animals that did not meet conditions could not be exported.||1935||Reform|
|The Navigation (Deck Cargo and Livestock) Regulations 1926
The first regulations were introduced for livestock export. They included space, food, and ventilation requirements.
|The first trade in livestock from Australia started. Gradually, over time, trade expanded to include more species and markets.||1830s||Event|