Agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports are an economic powerhouse for Australia. Strengthening the competitiveness and productivity of Australia's agriculture sector is a key commitment of the Australian Government.
Improved legal framework
Australia’s new legal framework for agricultural exports commenced on Sunday 28 March 2021. The Australian Government introduced the new export legislation as part of a wider initiative to strengthen Australia’s agricultural exports and market access. This initiative will make the laws more relevant, responsive and efficient, provide the same level of regulatory oversight, remove duplication, and ensure consistency across the commodities where possible. This will allow for a streamlined approach to regulating different prescribed commodities and will ensure the framework is more accessible for exporters.
The new export legislation includes:
- The Export Control Act 2020 (the Act) sets out the overarching legal framework for the regulation of exported goods, including food and agricultural products, from Australia. It enables the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (the Secretary) to make rules that detail the requirements and establish conditions for exporting certain goods from Australia. It has streamlined and consolidated the export requirements included in more than 20 Acts and 40 legislative instruments into one Act, making the requirements to export easier to understand and comply with.
- The Export Control Rules 2021 (the Rules) are legislative instruments made by the Secretary under section 432 of the Act that set out the operational requirements that must be met to export specific goods from Australia (e.g., meat). These conditions ensure any importing country requirements are satisfied, and that the export conforms with requirements and industry standards and meets Australia’s international obligations.
The Rules are based on the Orders and Regulations for commodities that were regulated under the Export Control Act 1982 and the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997. The Rules replaced the Orders and Regulations that were in effect until the new legislation commenced on 28 March 2021. As for the previous Orders and Regulations, the Rules are disallowable instruments that are subject to parliamentary checks and balances.
- The Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2020 (the C&T Act) is a piece of primary legislation that provides transitional provisions and makes consequential amendments to support the commencement of the Export Control Act 2020 and subordinate instruments.
The C&T Act enables the transition to the new export legislation to be properly managed to ensure:
- exports are appropriately regulated or controlled
- access to international trading markets for Australian goods is maintained
- Australia’s global trading reputation as a reliable source of safe food and high-quality goods is protected and not disrupted.
The key benefits of the new legislation include:
- It will assist farmers, other primary producers and exporters by:
- reducing duplication, being more relevant and efficient and making export regulation easier to understand and comply with
- supporting the export of a broader range of agricultural exports. This will encourage farmers and prospective exporters to engage in international trade, particularly those involved in small, niche or emerging industries
- providing for regulatory changes to be made much more quickly to support changes in importing country requirements
- encouraging the uptake of innovation by farmers and exporters to meet regulatory requirements
- including provisions for automated decision making, where approved by the Secretary, that are aimed at making regulatory processes more efficient and effective.
- It will provide a higher level of deterrence, through a broader range of penalties and sanctions, to those who would seek to disregard our regulatory requirements and damage our export markets. It also supports more targeted regulatory action in instances where non-compliance occurs.
- It maintains Australia’s commitment to meeting the importing country requirements of our trading partners and our international obligations, including those under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement).
The development of Australia’s agricultural export legislation was informed by a comprehensive review of the export of agricultural products through the Agricultural Export Regulation Review (the Review), and extensive consultations with our stakeholders including farmers, other primary producers, exporters and trading partners. The Review found most stakeholders accepted the current level of regulation and understood the need for it to be maintained to protect market access and Australia’s global trading reputation. However, it also recognised that there was scope for improvement, including increasing flexibility and opportunities for government-industry cooperation, reducing complexity and duplication, and strengthening compliance and enforcement arrangements.
The development of the Rules was subject to extensive public consultation between November 2018 and January 2021. The feedback received from our stakeholders has helped to ensure that the previous export-related requirements were streamlined and consolidated into an improved legal framework which is clear and fit for purpose – supporting growth and innovation, while maintaining the level of regulatory oversight trading partners expect.
Export Control Rules 2021 - Amendments
Some provisions in the Rules for animals, meat, miscellaneous, organic goods, plant, poultry, rabbit and ratite and wild game have been amended. There were no amendments to the Rules for eggs, fish, milk, and wood.
Most of the changes are minor, although more substantive changes were made to the:
- Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Rules 2021: to give effect to an approach agreed with industry where meat inspection activities will be delivered by Food Safety Meat Assessors (only where it is required by an importing country)
- Export Control (Plant and Plant Products) Rules 2021: to improve regulatory arrangements for inspecting vessels exporting Australian grain.
These amendments reflect the outcome of a review of the new legislation following its commencement on 28 March 2021, and public consultation on the proposed changes. These refinements will ensure that legislation remains fit for purpose - supporting growth and innovation, while maintaining the level of regulatory oversight trading partners expect.
Please refer to Legislation and information sheets for a link to the Export Control Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Rules 2021. This instrument outlines the amendments to each of the Rules. The instrument is in force but various provisions have different commencement dates, which are listed on the main page for each instrument.
Going forward, we will consult with our stakeholders on proposed amendments to the Australia’s agricultural export legislation to ensure it remains modern and fit for purpose.
This page includes links to the Act, the C&T Act and the Rules, as well as information sheets that will assist your understanding of the new agricultural export legislation.
The Rules for animals, meat, miscellaneous, organic goods, plant, poultry, rabbit and ratite and wild game were amended by the Export Control Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Rules 2021. The instrument is in force but various provisions have different commencement dates, which are listed on the main page for each instrument.
Export Control Act 2020
Export Control Rules 2021
- Export Control Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Animals) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Eggs and Egg Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Fish and Fish Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Milk and Milk Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Miscellaneous) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Organic Goods) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Poultry Meat and Poultry Meat Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Rabbit and Ratite Meat and Rabbit and Ratite Meat Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Wild Game Meat and Wild Game Meat Products) Rules 2021
- Export Control (Wood and Woodchips) Rules 2021
- Cost Recovery Framework, which consists of 3 legislative instruments
Export Charges (Imposition—General) Regulations 2021
Export Charges (Imposition—Customs) Regulations 2021
Export Control (Fees and Payments) Rules 2021
Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2020
- General outline of the Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2020 [PDF 273 KB] [DOCX 194 KB]
- the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas) Order 2019 has transitioned to the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas—General) Rules 2021
- the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas—Feed Grain Export to Indonesia) Order 2020 has transitioned to become the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas—Feed Grain Export to Indonesia) Rules 2021
- the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas—Sheepmeat and Goatmeat Export to the European Union and United Kingdom) Order 2019 has transitioned to become the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas—Sheepmeat and Goatmeat Export to the European Union and United Kingdom) Rules 2021.
These three Orders were saved by section 55 of the Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2020. This enabled the Orders to continue as if the Orders were rules made by the Secretary under subsection 432(1) of the Act for the purposes of section 264 of that Act and does not prevent tariff rate quota rules from being amended or repealed after the commencement of this item. The Export Control Legislation Amendment (Tariff Rate Quotas) Rules 2021 amended the provisions in the Orders to refer to the relevant provisions in the Act and updated certain definitions to be consistent with those used in the Act.
Details of our previous consultations with stakeholders, critical to shaping Australia’s new agricultural export legislation are available via these links:
- Agricultural Export Regulation Review 2015
- Draft Export Control Bill 2017
- Draft Export Control Bills Package 2019
- Exposure Draft Export Control Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2020
- Draft Animals Rules
- Draft Egg Rules
- Draft Fish Rules
- Draft Meat Rules
- Draft Milk Rules
- Draft Organics Rules
- Draft Plant Rules
- Draft Poultry Rules
- Draft Wood Rules
- Exposure Draft Egg Rules
- Exposure Draft Fish Rules
- Exposure Draft Meat Rules
- Exposure Draft Milk Rules
- Exposure Draft Organic Rules
- Exposure Draft Plant Rules
- Exposure Draft Poultry Meat Rules
- Exposure Draft Animal Rules
- Exposure Draft Rabbit and Ratite Rules
- Exposure Draft Wild Game Rules
- Exposure Draft Wood Rules
- Exposure Draft Miscellaneous Rules 2020
- Australia’s new agricultural export legislation – Post-commencement review
- Export Control Rules 2021 - Proposed amendments
Further information on The Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Rules 2021 (plant rules) can be found at Plant export legislation changes.
If you want to be contacted about the improved agriculture export legislation, please register you interest below.
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