Australian exports and the economy
Agriculture makes an important contribution to the Australian economy. Around two-thirds of our farm, fish and forestry production—worth around $52 billion—is exported to more than 100 countries annually. Australia’s plant industries generate more than $12 billion in export revenue for the economy.
In 2018, the National Farmers Federation published its 2030 Roadmap to achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.
We have worked with internal and external stakeholders, the latter represented by the Horticulture and Grain and Plant Products Export Industry Consultative Committees (HEICC and GPPEICC) to develop a vision and strategic plan to support the plant export industry in achieving this goal over the next decade.
The Plant Export Operations Strategic Plan 2020–2030 presents our vision for 2030, what it will look like when we achieve that vision and the key strategies that will help us get there.
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Why do we inspect products prior to export?
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry administers export laws to ensure that exported products meet all Australian and importing country requirements. This maintains the integrity of our exports, Australia’s positive relationships with trading partners and our reputation as a reliable exporter of safe and high-quality products.
Laws and regulations
The department regulates plant and plant product exports and the inspections of empty containers and vessels through the following legislation:
- Export Control Act 2020
- Export Control (Plants and Plant Product) Rules 2021
What plants and plant products do we export?
Australia exports a diverse range of plants and plant products to many importing countries. These include (but are not limited to) fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruit, plants, cut flowers, nuts, timber, hay and straw, raw baled cotton, logs, timber, seeds and grains.
Export inspection and certification
Plants or plant products prescribed (listed) under Australian export laws are controlled by the department and may require an export permit, inspection for compliance by an accredited Plant Export Authorised Officer (AO), and certification before they can be exported.
Prescribed products must also be packed, treated (if required) and inspected at an establishment registered with the department for the export of plants and plant products from Australia.
- The following products are prescribed and regulated under Australian plant export law:
- some grain and legumes (including barley, canola, chickpeas, dried field peas, faba beans, lentils, lupins, mung beans, oats, sorghum, soybeans, split vetch).
- all fresh fruit
- all fresh vegetables (including mushrooms and sprouts)
- any other plants and plant products where an importing country requires a phytosanitary (plant health) certificate or any other official certificate (this may include nuts, fodder, timber products, nursery stock, tissue cultures, cotton; and other grains, seeds and legumes).
For more information about prescribed goods, please visit the department’s Exporting from Australia webpage.
Guide to exporting plants and plant products
To export plants and plant products, there are a few steps exporters will need to complete. For more information, please see the Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.
Fees and charges
The department provides export services to industry under cost recovery arrangements. Costs are recovered through fees and charges that are imposed for the complete range of plant export inspection and certification activities.
This includes time spent on preparation and completion of export inspections, audits, treatment monitoring and registrations, and the issuance of all export documentation. In some cases costs are also recovered by means of a quantity charge per tonne.
For full details, see the department’s charging guidelines.
The department’s Client Service Charter and Service Standards outline our commitment to our clients. They describe our service responsibilities and the standard of service you can expect from our staff. We strive to provide and maintain a high level of service by stating necessary lead times for the functions related to export inspection and certification.
The department issues Industry Advice Notices (IANs) to inform exporters of changes and updates affecting the export of plants and plant products.