13 May 2021
Who does this notice affect?
All clients who submit documentation to the department for import assessment via the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS) or other departmental approved systems.
What has changed?
There are currently delays in industry members receiving their directions. All efforts are being made to manage workloads while also effectively managing biosecurity and imported food risks.
What are we doing to manage the workload?
The department continues to manage a range of strategies to address these concerns including:
- The training of additional Imported Food Assessment officers continues to help address the significant and unexpected increase in Imported Food LRNs.
- Continuation of staff overtime to process lodgements outside core business hours.
- Given the significant increase in late lodgements over past months, we continue our process to identify and prioritise those clients in the escalated queue that have lodged early - prioritising these clients along with those that are genuinely in the escalated queue (i.e. reducing the priority of those LRNs that are being lodged late in hopes of getting priority clearance).
- Progressing system enhancements to COLS.
- The Department’s IT area is also working to prevent where possible, and rectify IT system issues and outages of our operational systems as they occur.
How can industry members assist?
Industry members can assist in avoiding delays in document assessment by:
- Ensuring documents are lodged well in advance of arrival of the goods
- Ensuring that documents and other information is lodged completely and accurately, and in line with the department's minimum documentary requirements and import conditions.
- Do not provide unnecessary documents, as this can result in longer assessment times as we work through sometimes 50+ documents to find the 4 or 5 required by the minimum documents policy.
- Ensure any specific additional information is included in the ‘additional information’ field in COLS.
- Please do not repeatedly call or email the department checking on the status of a lodgement for document assessment – this diverts staff and compounds the delays.
- Regardless of the expected assessment outcome, nominate a valid Approved Arrangement (AA) inspection location, preferably with the AA registration number and name, to avoid additional processing delays.
- This includes consignments referred for CCV inspections. CCV inspections are permitted at non-AA sites but the location is still required to be nominated.
Thank you for your ongoing cooperation. The staff are highly dedicated to their work and doing everything within their power to deal with the continued high workload volumes in a timely and effective manner.