The NSAC is the principal technical committee for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s (the department) National Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce (the National Standard). The NSAC is a technical committee of individuals, acting independently of any organisation. The NSAC supports the department through the delivery of technical advice and recommendations on amendments, revisions, and updates to the National Standard.
The NSAC also assists the department in relation to interpretations of other international standards and regulations.
The committee experience covers:
- Organic Audit
- Environmental Management
- Organic Certification
- Organic Regulations
- Livestock Production
- Organic Supply
- Consumer Education
- Meat Marketing
- Organic Food Formulations
- International Organic Standards
The primary function of committee members is to offer sound and impartial advice relating to applications to amend the National Standard, as well as considering comments from public consultation to assist with scheduled revisions to the National Standard.
Committee Members may provide advice to the department if within their area of expertise.
In December of 2022 the department appointed Ms Jo-Anne Harrison as the independent chair of the NSAC for a term of 4 years. Ms Harrison brings with her extensive experience in standards and governance. Some of Ms Harrison’s achievements include;
- 15 years as the Chair of one of Standards Australia’s Technical Committees - Project, Programme and Portfolio Management (TC258 MB‐012).
- lecturer at the Governance Institute of Australia on corporate governance, risk management, business continuity, reputational risk and project governance.
- more than 15 years experience spanning multiple Chair and Director roles within Australian and multinational organisations.
- Masters, Postgraduate and Graduate education in governance, finance, and project management.
Industry Working Groups
Industry working groups may be leveraged by the NSAC if specific topics or sections of the National Standard require review. Member nomination will be issued by department through existing communication channels and Industry Advice Notices. To ensure you receive these communications, subscribe to receive organics updates via the department's subscription service.
Working group member responsibilities include, reviewing and providing feedback to the NSAC and the department, identifying areas for improvement, and working collaboratively with other experts within the working group. Review time frames will be dependent on the depth and complexity of change identified for each working group.
Working group positions are voluntary roles, providing an opportunity to contribute to the development of the organic and bio-dynamic export industry in Australia. Becoming a member of an industry working group will also give you the opportunity to expand your professional networks and knowledge in the field.
This role precludes membership from:
- any persons who are leaders of an organic organisation/certifier or are key spokespersons for an organic organisation/certifier and/or
- any member opposed to the principles of organic agriculture
National Standard Amendment Submissions
Any section of the National Standard is open for review and an application to amend the National Standard can be submitted via the Application to amend the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce.
Approved applications will be shared with industry for consultation via the department's ‘Have Your Say’ website. Any commercial-in-confidence information submitted as part of an application must be clearly marked. Where indicated, this information will remain with the department and the NSAC, and not be released to industry.
For more information on any open amendment proposals and to submit your feedback, please visit the department's Have Your Say webpage.
- Application received and checked to confirm that all relevant information has been included.
- The department will contact the applicant to confirm their submission has been received.
- The NSAC will review the application and make recommendations to the department.
- The NSAC’s initial review of a submission will confirm the submission is valid. The submission must meet one or more of the following criteria (if yes, investigate further*. If no, reject application):
- The submission is allowed in an international organic standard
- The submission is allowed in an overseas organic country regulation
- The submission meets the general principles and fundamental principles for organic/bio-dynamic processes
- The NSAC will provide the department (the administrator of the National Standard) with their recommendation to either accept or reject the application based on the above criteria.
- If a recommendation is made to the department to accept an application, the department will then consult with industry via the department’s ‘Have Your Say’ portal. The department will provide the NSAC with the ‘Have Your Say’ results for assessment.
- If a recommendation is made by the NSAC to reject an application, the department will assess all information provided as part of the recommendation and notify the applicant of the decision.
- Based on the results and assessment of the Have Your Say, the NSAC will provide the department with their formal recommendation to either accept or reject the proposed amendment.
- The department will make the final decision regarding amendments and, if approved, an amendment to the National Standard will be scheduled, with updates provided on the department’s website.
- Where the application is for a product or substance the criteria outlined in Appendices M and N of the National Standard is used as a basis for decision making.
- Where an application is for a management practice, both the general principles and fundamental principles for organic/biodynamic are used as a basis for decision making.
- The NSAC will decide to accept or reject an application based on the above decision-making process.
Please note: Both the department and the NSAC may request further information or clarification from the applicant during the decision-making process. If additional information is required, the applicant will be advised how long they have to respond. Failure to respond within this timeframe will result in the application being withdrawn and no longer valid.
NSAC activities and resources
The NSAC meet quarterly to review and make decisions on any new applications to amend the National Standard. The NSAC will leverage these meetings to discuss feedback from any ‘Have Your Say’s’ and make decisions on applications.
- October (2 days)
- October (2 days)
Please note: Applications for amendments close 2 weeks prior to the meeting.
Contact OrganicExports@agriculture.gov.au if you have any queries.
National Standard Advisory Committee - Working Group Terms of Reference (PDF 189 KB)
National Standard Advisory Committee - Meeting Minutes Template (PDF 132 KB)
If you have difficulty accessing these files, contact the Organic Exports team for assistance.