New supply chain biosecurity arrangements for imported cargo – (Green Lane Program)
Across 2021-22 the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry engaged directly with various import businesses to test whether their systems and supply chain controls could be leveraged to effectively and consistently manage biosecurity risk.
This proof-of-concept trial has concluded and the outcomes are informing the set up of a trust-based biosecurity risk management scheme (green lane arrangements) that will:
- reduce regulatory intervention and costs for highly compliant importers who already invest heavily in commercial quality assurance arrangements
- allow for biosecurity risks to be identified and mitigated before goods are shipped to Australia
- lessen border congestion, providing benefits for other importers and the wider community, helping to drive business growth and job creation
- enable departmental resources to be redirected to areas of greater risk.
This initiative delivers on the Commonwealth Biosecurity Strategy 2030 by partnering with industry to inform border operations and strengthen our biosecurity system.
Following an open expression of interest process, the companies chosen to participate in pilots under this trial were:
- KMART Australia Pty Ltd
- FTA Food Solutions Pty Ltd
- Becton Dickinson Australia
- Stora Enso Australia Pty Ltd (Wood Products)
- John Deere Pty Ltd
- Ball Australia Pty Ltd
- Amazon Commercial Services Pty Ltd.
Each pilot was co-designed with the companies based on detailed mapping of their systems, data and supply chain assurance mechanisms against biosecurity controls and risk trigger points. This activity captured the people, regulations, systems, and processes involved from product selection to export and logistics on arrival in Australia, including for both commodity and non-commodity risks.
Other government and industry accreditations held by each importer were also considered, as well as non-biosecurity related regulatory controls or industry standards they were required to meet. The maturity and effectiveness of these controls was then evaluated.
During the pilots, the companies continued to meet standard biosecurity reporting and document lodgement arrangements.
- Trial participants currently invest considerable time and money to ensure biosecurity and imported food requirements are met to avoid delays at the border and to satisfy their own customers who rely on the protection biosecurity provides.
- The current transactional biosecurity management model does not always recognise this effort, with many company imports being treated the same each time regardless of the importer’s past compliance.
- Most pilot participants had well-established and documented, or fully systematised, business assurance controls in place. They were able to demonstrate that these were, or could be, used to manage biosecurity risk.
- The trial methodologies and approach were scalable and agile, and can be applied to different business models, supply chains and cargo entry pathways.
- While the supply chain mapping and evaluation process took several months for each participant due to the need to fit around their other business priorities, all found the process to be beneficial and time-appropriate.
- At times the process also highlighted visibility gaps in the participants’ own controls, enabling them to take action to address the situation.
- Importers with mature supply chain controls have the ability and are willing to work with the department on reforms that remove barriers for legitimate trade and build confidence in the national biosecurity system.
- Potential exists for the department to draw data directly from industry systems, saving importers time and money from having to reproduce.
These insights, along with feedback from importers that applied but were not selected for the trial, have informed the design of the new green lane arrangements.
We have been working to put in place the necessary framework and mechanisms to transition successful pilot businesses to the new arrangements, before opening the program to other importers.
Unfortunately, progress has been slower than anticipated due primarily to the need to redirect resources to address several emerging biosecurity threats, such as foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease and detections of Varroa mite of bees in Newcastle.
Successful trial participants are now expected to transition to a green lane arrangement in February 2023 . The prime change for these businesses is that they will not have to routinely lodge import documentation with the department. They will still be required to meet relevant import conditions and requirements and maintain evidence to that effect.
Broader roll out of the program is expected to begin in March 2023. Information on the application and assessment process will be published on the department’s website beforehand.
The application process will involve completion of a self-assessment tool, which will help interested businesses understand what is required to participate in the green lane, including the assessment timeframe.
Businesses meeting the eligibility criteria will then be prioritised to undertake in-depth supply chain discovery, assessment and testing steps to determine their suitability for the program.
The department will continue to consult with industry as this occurs, noting the new arrangements will not suit all businesses as it requires the importer to have sufficient visibility and control over their supply chains.
For further information on the trial and new arrangements, email the Biosecurity Operations Industry Partnerships and Engagement team at email@example.com.