New plant export legislation

On 28 March 2021 Australia's export legislation changed. The new legislation commenced at 3 am Australian Eastern Daylight Time.

The new legislation will continue to achieve the regulatory outcomes expected by our trading partners. It is also easier to understand and use.

The new export legislation looks different, but it is not designed to add regulatory burden or change how industry do business in the short term.

The new legislation will support Australia’s plant agricultural industries to innovate and pursue opportunities for business efficiency.

The new export legislation consists of the Export Control Act 2020 and the Export Control Rules 2021.

The Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Rules 2021 (plant rules) set the specific requirements for the export of plants and plant products.

The new export legislation has been designed to minimise impacts on export businesses. Legislative approvals which existed immediately prior to commencement transitioned automatically. This includes:

  • Property accreditations
  • Establishment registrations
  • Authorised officer (AO) appointments
  • Export permits
  • Government certificates, such as phytosanitary certificates
  • Product inspection records, treatment supervision records, container approvals and bulk vessel approvals.

Implementation

Instructional material, forms, records and systems have been updated for the new legislation.

Updated policies and instructional material are on the Plant Export Operations Manual (PEOM).

Further information on these changes is provided through:

  • the factsheets below
  • Industry Advice Notices
  • instructional material.

Departmental system outages

Departmental systems were updated in the days leading up to and following the commencement of the new legislation. You may encounter outages in systems such as the Export Documentation System (EXDOC) and the Plant Exports Management System (PEMS).

We will seek to minimise the impacts on clients and AOs and will provide advanced notification wherever possible.

Please take note of the information relating to updated manual AO inspection record templates. These are available for use for contingency purposes after the commencement of the new legislation.

Fees and Charges

We have developed new legislation on fees and charges to better align with the new legislative framework.

The fees and charges have not changed as a result of the new export legislation.

The key pieces of legislation for fees and charges are:

  • Export Control (Fees and Payments) Rules 2021
  • Export Charges (Imposition—General) Regulations 2021.

See further information on fees and charges.

The following sections contain specific resources for different plant export stakeholders.

[expand all]

Authorised Officers

If you were an AO before the commencement of the new legislation, your appointment and associated job functions will have automatically transitioned. The expiry date of your appointment will not change.

Your updated instrument of appointment captures your existing job functions and includes the references to your relevant legislative powers under the Act and plant rules. Updated instruments are available through individual AO profiles in the Plant Export Management System (PEMS).

The way your powers and functions are expressed in the legislation has changed. For example, an ‘export compliance inspection’ is now an ‘assessment of goods’. However, you must continue to follow instructional material when performing your functions. Instructional material is available on the Plant Export Operations Manual (PEOM).

Instructional material has been updated for the commencement of the new legislation. The changes to processes in the instructional material are minimal. For a summary of changes to instructional material see the factsheets below.

Updated instructional material is on the PEOM.

Updated eLearning is available to you through Learnhub. You can undertake the new eLearning at any time, but you must complete it before your reappointment.

The regulation of AOs is covered in Part 4 of Chapter 9 of the Export Control Act 2020 and the plant rules.

For further information on what the new legislation means for AOs, and for your specific job function, please refer to the factsheets below and the AOs webpage.

Document Pages File size
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for authorised officers DOCX 3 301 KB
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for authorised officers PDF 2 494 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers – new process for re-export consignments DOCX 2 298 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers – new process for re-export consignments PDF 2 752 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers – horticulture inspections and treatment supervision DOCX 2 298 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers – horticulture inspections and treatment supervision PDF 2 783 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers – bulk vessel inspections DOCX 2 297 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers – bulk vessel inspections PDF 2 818 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers- empty container inspections DOCX 2 297 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers- empty container inspections PDF 2 436 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers - grain and other plant product inspections DOCX 2 299 KB
Factsheet - Authorised officers - grain and other plant product inspections PDF 2 476 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Registered Establishments

Registered establishments automatically transitioned when the new legislation commenced. They continue to be registered for the same operations and functions they were registered for under the old legislation. This could include:

  • inspection or preparation of plants or plant products for export
  • quality systems recognition (QSR)
  • export compliant goods storage (ECGS)
  • mobile bulk loading (MBL)
  • automatic in-line sampling for hay or straw (AIHS)
  • horticulture treatment facilities
  • facilities that process fruit fly Pest Free Area (PFA) product in a non-fruit fly PFA.

Registered establishments must continue implementing the systems, operations and procedures (management systems) that were in place before the new legislation commenced.

The department will continue to audit registered establishments on:

  • the implementation of their management systems
  • record keeping
  • compliance with departmental policies
  • the condition and maintenance of the facility.

Registered establishments are covered in Chapter 4 of the Export Control Act 2020 and the plant rules.

For further information on what the new legislation means for registered establishments, please refer to the factsheet below.

Document Pages File size
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for registered establishments DOCX 3 300 KB
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for registered establishments PDF 2 497 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Accredited Properties

All horticulture property accreditations including operations and markets automatically transitioned when the new legislation commenced.

Accredited properties must continue implementing the systems, operations and procedures (management systems) that were in place before the new legislation commenced.

The following instructional material has been updated:

  • Guideline: Management of horticulture export accredited properties
  • Guideline: Audit of horticulture export accredited properties
  • Relevant performance standards for farms, packhouses and crop monitors
  • Application forms for plant export accreditation of farms and packhouses.

The department will continue to audit accredited properties for compliance with:

  • importing country requirements
  • approved management systems
  • departmental policies.

Accredited properties are covered in Chapter 3 of the Export Control Act 2020 and the plant rules.

For further information on what the new legislation means for horticulture accredited properties, please refer to the factsheet below and the accredited properties webpage.

Document Pages File size
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for accredited properties DOCX 3 299 KB
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for accredited properties PDF 2 494 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Exporters

The process for exporters to export plants and plant products from Australia has not changed.

Exporters are responsible for their consignments meeting legislative requirements and importing country requirements.

Exporters should continue to follow:

Under the legislation, exporters must retain for at least 2 years:

  • records relating to the export of their goods
  • applications for export permits or government certificates.

Exporters should be aware that:

  • inspection records issued by an authorised officer must now be in the new inspection record template available on the PEOM. Records issued via the Plant Exports Management System (PEMS) will automatically be in the new template
  • all inspection records issued before commencement in the old template (whether manual or in PEMS) will be recognised and accepted by the department for certification purposes until they expire
  • all export permits and government certificates, such as phytosanitary certificates, issued under the old legislation continue to have effect until they expire, if relevant
  • the process to obtain a phytosanitary certificate for re-export has changed. Refer to the factsheet: Plant rules – exporters – new process for re-export consignments
  • electronic government certificate templates issued through EXDOC (i.e. those printed on security paper) are now in the new template
  • updated manual government certificate templates must now be used for all manual government certification requests.

For further information on what the new legislation means for exporters, please refer to the factsheets below.

Document Pages File size
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for exporters DOCX 2 301 KB
Factsheet - Plant rules - overview of changes for exporters PDF 2 550 KB
Factsheet - Exporters - new process for re-export consignments DOCX 2 299 KB
Factsheet - Exporters - new process for re-export consignments PDF 2 688 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Norfolk Island

Under the old legislation, there was a separate Norfolk Island Order for export of plants and plant products from Norfolk Island. This no longer exists under the new legislation.

The plant rules now cover exports of plants and plant products from Norfolk Island.

This change will not have any impact on Norfolk Island’s plant export industry. Exports of plants and plant products from Norfolk Island can continue as usual.

Under the plant rules, plants and plant products from Norfolk Island are non-prescribed goods. Therefore, prescribed export conditions and other legislative requirements such as the following do not apply:

  • accredited properties
  • registered establishments
  • notice of intention to export
  • trade descriptions
  • export permits.

Importing countries sometimes require a phytosanitary certificate or other government certificate for Norfolk Island exporters. Phytosanitary certificates will continue to be issued where requested. As usual, they will be issued based on an inspection by an authorised officer and whether the consignment meets the import requirements of the intended destination country.

Updated government certificates and inspection records

Norfolk Island exporters must now use the updated phytosanitary certificate template when requesting phytosanitary certification from an authorised officer. The updated template is available on our Certificates, declarations and forms webpage.

Norfolk Island authorised officers must now use the updated manual inspection record template, which is available on the PEOM.

This information is also available in the factsheet below.

Document Pages File size
Factsheet - Plant rules - Norfolk Island exporters DOCX 2 298 KB
Factsheet - Plant rules - Norfolk Island exporters PDF 2 826 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Keep informed

Further information can be found in the PEOM, and at Improving Agricultural Export Legislation.

Contact us

Email plantexportreform@awe.gov.au.

Last reviewed: 30 March 2021
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