2021-02: All countries: All commodities: Changes to certification due to the implementation of Australia’s new export legislation

Date of issue: 26 February 2021

Date of effect: March 2021


All Industries—Industry bodies
Export establishments
Licensed exporters
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment —Central and Regional offices


To notify of changes to export certificates issued by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, due to the implementation of Australia’s new export legislation.

Summary of key points

  • The department is implementing the new Export Control Act which will enter into force on 28 March 2021. 
  •  In order to future proof export certification issued by the department, the following changes will be made:
    • The reference to the year of the Export Control Act shall be removed from all certificates. The reference to the Act will now appear as the ‘Export Control Act’, replacing ‘Export Control Act 1982’.
    • The reference to department names on certificates beneath the crest, such as the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, will be updated to read ‘Australian Government’, except:
      • i) where an importing country expressly requires the name of the competent authority to appear on the certificate and;
      • ii) for plant certificates, to ensure compliance with International Plant Protection Convention requirements.
    • There will be no changes to current department naming conventions currently present in export certificate attestations at this stage.
  • The department will also remove the signature of the Chief Veterinary Officer from all electronically issued meat, dairy, egg, seafood and non-prescribed goods health certificates. This will be replaced with a signature from the National Veterinary Technical Manager, Dr Stewart Lowden, who has oversight of the export systems in accordance with OIE and Codex guidance on certification arrangements.
    • There will be no changes to signatories for grain, seed, horticulture phytosanitary, live animal and reproductive certificates.
  • Australia’s updated certificates will be released by regions of the world during March 2021. Updated plant certificates will be released on 15 March 2021. There will be a small transition period (throughout March 2021) where old and new certificates may be seen.
  • Importantly, the planned changes do not affect the agreed attestations for market access, the department’s regulatory controls over exports or the agreed upon information regarding the consignment details described on the certificate.
  •  In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new certification arrangements, the department has been communicating with trading partners about the changes. This includes providing notification of the changes through the World Trade Organisation (G/SPS/N/AUS/515). The department also maintains a website, which outlines the changes to certification.
  •  Should exporters receive any enquiries from importing countries about the changes to certification, please direct any enquiries to exportstandards@awe.gov.au.

Contact information

Contact exportstandards@awe.gov.au if you have any queries.

The information provided in this advice is current at the time of writing and is intended for use as guidance only and should not be taken as definitive or exhaustive. The Commonwealth endeavours to keep information current and accurate, however, it may be subject to change without notice. Exporters are encouraged to verify these details with their importers prior to undertaking production/exports. The Commonwealth will not accept liability for any loss resulting from reliance on information contained in this notice.

Last reviewed: 26 February 2021
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