Organic Exports—a program of reform
Continuing export regulation for certified organic goods
Maintaining government regulatory oversight of certified organic goods for export and organic certifiers will ensure Australian producers, processors and exporters maintain their existing access to markets, and provides an opportunity to expand access to new markets.
Draft Organic Goods Rules
The department has prepared the Consultation Draft Export Control (Organic Goods) Rules 2020 (the draft organic goods rules) to continue, and improve, the ongoing regulation of organic and biodynamic certified goods prepared for export. Public consultation on the draft organic goods rules commenced on 10 July 2020 and closed on 7 August 2020. The Have Your Say departmental portal will continue to be updated with further information and developments on the rules.
These rules maintain the current level of, and approach to, regulatory control and oversight contained in the existing Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders and other regulations.
Importantly, the rules still mandate the requirement for an organic certificate for exported organic goods, and that an organic export operation must be certified by an approved organic certifier, operating on behalf of the Australian Government. There are some proposed minor changes, but these changes have no impact on the department’s regulation and oversight of certified organic exports.
The draft rules are due to take effect in late March 2021.
Additional measures to strengthen organic exports regulation
The release of the draft rules is a first step in strengthening and simplifying the current framework. Into the future, the department will separately consult with the organic industry on some additional, longer-term opportunities to strengthen the regulation of organic exports. These are opportunities and considerations intended to put Australia’s exported organic produce in the best position to maintain and achieve additional market access. It is expected that any additional measures would not be implemented before April 2021 and will include industry consultation prior to implementation.
The department will undertake consultation with the organic industry on these proposed additional measures and further information will be provided in the coming months.
Background: review of Australia’s organic export regulation
In 2018, the Australian Government announced an independent review of Australia’s organic export regulation, the Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders under the Export Control Act 1982. The review was conducted in part, due to the sunsetting of the orders in April 2020, with the sunset date later revised to April 2021.
The review considered whether the regulation of exported organic products should continue, and if so how and to which standard.
In late 2018, the review was finalised and provided to the then Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The department has considered the review and assessed its recommendations against the department’s experience in managing existing, and potential, market access arrangements.
The department’s assessment is that while the existing framework is fit for purpose, there are opportunities to strengthen some aspects, including where the department can take a more direct role and strengthen its engagement with industry.