Regional Assurance Manager network

The Australian Government trains and accredits Authorised Officers (AO). These AOs inspect plants and plant products before export. The AO model was independently reviewed in 2018.  Although AOs and their employers deal with export rules every day, they can still be complex to work with. The review acknowledged the complexity of export rules and regulations. It was recommended that a support network should be set up for AOs. As a result, we established the Plant Export Regional Assurance Manager (RAM) network.

The RAMs visit AOs and their employers to help them understand and apply these export rules. These visits are important to:

  • build trust;
  • develop a feedback loop;
  • encourage compliance.

The network will run until 2023. We currently have 12 RAMs working throughout Australia.

This project is a part of the Modernising Agricultural Trade initiative.

Tracking visits by RAMs

RAMs achieve their objectives through regular onsite visits.

Authorised officer post-assessment visits

These are visits to new industry AOs to help build a relationship with their RAM. It also helps the AOs to understand their new role. These visits usually occur within the first 3-months an AO's appointment.

Authorised officer reappointment visits

These visits help maintain existing working relationship between AOs and RAMs. They provide technical support to AOs before their biennial reappointment. These visits should occur at least 1 month before the AO's reappointment.

Registered establishment assurance visits

These visits provide registered establishments (REs) access to an experienced departmental official. These visits target REs that employ industry AOs.

Export pathway visits

Started in January 2020. These informal visits introduce the AO model to new entities within the plant and plant products export chain. They target exporters, shipping agents, packhouses and freight forwarders.

Plant Export Management System (PEMS) support visits

Started in January 2020. These visits encourage more people and entities to register for PEMS by walking them through the system and registration process.

PEMS is now mandatory and widely accepted by industry. Consequently, PEMS support visits as a stand-alone activity ceased in 2021. The RAMs still offer support to PEMS users during their other visits.

Client contact calls

Started in March 2021. RAMs are available to take calls from their clients both during and outside of business hours. These calls are referred to as ‘client contact calls’ and can cover a range of issues RAM clients might be struggling with.

The following reports are produced to track these visits.

Visit reports

The following reports are produced to track these visits.

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April to June 2021

AO post-assessment visits

These visits help newly appointed industry AOs build a relationship with their RAM and understand the requirements of their role. Visits generally occur in the first 3 months of an industry AOs appointment.

The number of visits in QLD and SA dropped this quarter as less people became appointed in those states. Visit numbers rose in VIC and WA. The total visit numbers increased compared with the previous reporting period.

April to June 2021

State AOs visited
NSW 17
QLD 6
VIC 10
WA 18
SA 4
NT 0
TAS 1
TOTAL 56

AO reappointment visits

These visits help maintain a productive working relationship between industry AOs and their RAMs, and ensure AOs receive technical support as needed, prior to their biennial reappointment. These visits should occur no more than 1 month before the AO’s reappointment. During these visits, both parties:

  • discuss updates to plant export policy
  • confirm whether the industry AO has kept up to date with relevant information, is getting the support they need from the department and their employer and understands how they fit within the plant exports chain.
The numbers for this quarter are higher than the previous quarter. Reappointment visit numbers will fluctuate from month to month as AOs become due for reappointment and therefore a reappointment visit.

April to June 2021

State AOs visited
NSW 29
QLD 32
VIC 47
WA 31
SA 20
NT 0
TAS 2
TOTAL 161

RE assurance visits

These visits provided registered establishments (REs) with an experience and accessible departmental presence, and are targeted at REs that employ industry AOs. During these visits, the RAM:

  • discusses any upcoming policy or technical changes with the RE
  • helps identify potential operational risks
  • discusses any issues with managers of the RE.

RE assurance visit numbers are slightly lower when compared to the previous quarter. These visits continue to be conducted both face-to-face and virtually owing to COVID-19 restrictions in some states.

April to June 2021

State Visits
NSW 35
QLD 4
VIC 14
WA 1
SA 12
NT 0
TAS 3
Total 69

Client contact calls

RAMs are available to take calls from their clients both during and outside of business hours. These calls are referred to as ‘client contact calls’ and can cover a range of issues RAM clients might be struggling with.

The numbers of client contact calls received this quarter are higher than the previous quarter.

April to June 2021

State Visits
NSW 198
QLD 421
VIC 219
WA 91
SA 386
NT 0
TAS 22
Total 1336

January to March 2021

AO post-assessment visits

These visits help newly appointed industry AOs build a relationship with their RAM and understand the requirements of their role. Visits generally occur in the first 3 months of an industry AOs appointment.

The number of visits in WA and VIC dropped this quarter as less people became appointed in those states. Visit numbers rose in SA, QLD and NSW. The total visit numbers are consistent with the previous reporting period.

January to March 2021

State AOs visited
NSW 16
QLD 12
VIC 5
WA 2
SA 10
NT 0
TAS 1
TOTAL 46

AO reappointment visits

These visits help maintain a productive working relationship between industry AOs and their RAMs, and ensure AOs receive technical support as needed, prior to their biennial reappointment. These visits should occur no more than 1 month before the AO’s reappointment. During these visits, both parties:

  • discuss updates to plant export policy
  • confirm whether the industry AO has kept up to date with relevant information, is getting the support they need from the department and their employer and understands how they fit within the plant exports chain.

The numbers for this quarter are lower than the previous quarter. Reappointment visit numbers fluctuate from month to month as Industry AOs become due for reappointment and therefore a reappointment visit. Historically, January has the lowest reappointment numbers.

January to March 2021

State AOs visited
NSW 11
QLD 21
VIC 26
WA 34
SA 24
NT 0
TAS 3
TOTAL 129

RE assurance visits

These visits provided registered establishments (REs) with an experience and accessible departmental presence, and are targeted at REs that employ industry AOs. During these visits, the RAM:

  • discusses any upcoming policy or technical changes with the RE
  • helps identify potential operational risks
  • discusses any issues with managers of the RE.

RE assurance visit numbers are higher again this quarter when compared to the previous two quarters. These visits continue to be conducted both face-to-face and virtually owing to COVID-19 restrictions in some states.

January to March 2021

State Visits
NSW 22
QLD 12
VIC 19
WA 17
SA 6
NT 0
TAS 0
Total 76

Client contact calls

RAMs are available to take calls from their clients both during and outside of business hours. These calls are referred to as ‘client contact calls’ and can cover a range of issues RAM clients might be struggling with.

In the month of March alone, the 12 RAMs and their team leader took over 800 of these calls

January to March 2021

State Visits
NSW 45
QLD 292
VIC 102
WA 93
SA 293
NT 0
TAS 13
Total 838

October to December 2020

State AOs visited
NSW 20
QLD 16
VIC 55
WA 46
SA 20
NT 0
TAS 8
TOTAL 165

RE assurance visits

These visits provided registered establishments (Res) with an experience and accessible departmental presence, and are targeted at REs that employ industry AOs. During these visits, the RAM:

  • discusses any upcoming policy or technical changes with the RE
  • helps identify potential operational risks
  • discusses any issues with managers of the RE.

Registered establishment assurance visit numbers are higher this quarter when compared to the previous quarter, COVID-19 travel restrictions are still making these visits very difficult to conduct over the phone. Many Res are not willing to spend an extended period of time on the phone, particularly with someone they are yet to meet face-to-face.

October to December 2020

State Visits
NSW 20
QLD 21
VIC 4
WA 5
SA 9
NT 0
TAS 0
Total 59

July to September 2020

AO post-assessment visits

These visits help newly appointed industry AOs build a relationship with their RAM and understand the requirements of their role. Visits generally occur in the first 3 months of an industry AOs appointment.

The number of people requesting assessment for AO job functions fell during this quarter and therefore, so did the number of post assessment visits required.

July to September 2020

State AOs visited
NSW 1
QLD 2
VIC 1
WA 9
SA 4
TAS 0
TOTAL 17

AO reappointment visits

These visits help maintain a productive working relationship between industry AOs and their RAMs, and ensure AOs receive technical support as needed, prior to their biennial reappointment. These visits should occur no more than 1 month before the AO’s reappointment. During these visits, both parties:

  • discuss updates to plant export policy
  • confirm whether the industry AO has kept up to date with relevant information, is getting the support they need from the department and their employer and understands how they fit within the plant exports chain.

The numbers for this quarter are higher than the previous quarter. Reappointment visit numbers will fluctuate from month to month as AOs become due for reappointment and therefore a reappointment visit.

July to September 2020

State AOs visited
NSW 31
QLD 19
VIC 46
WA 20
SA 25
NT 0
TAS 3
TOTAL 144

RE assurance visits

These visits provided registered establishments (Res) with an experience and accessible departmental presence, and are targeted at REs that employ industry AOs. During these visits, the RAM:

  • discusses any upcoming policy or technical changes with the RE
  • helps identify potential operational risks
  • discusses any issues with managers of the RE.

Registered establishment assurance visit numbers are higher this quarter when compared to the previous quarter, COVID-19 travel restrictions are still making these visits very difficult to conduct over the phone. Many Res are not willing to spend an extended period of time on the phone, particularly with someone they are yet to meet face-to-face.

July to September 2020

State Visits
NSW 13
QLD 10
VIC 5
WA 4
SA 7
NT 6
TAS 1
Total 46

April to June 2020

AO post-assessment visits

These visits help newly appointed industry AOs build a relationship with their RAM and understand the requirements of their role. Visits generally occur in the first 3 months of an industry AOs appointment.

The number of people requesting assessment for AO job functions fell during this quarter and therefore, so did the number of post assessment visits required

April to June 2020

State AOs visited
NSW 15
QLD 7
VIC 10
WA 8
SA 2
TAS 1
TOTAL 43

AO reappointment visits

These visits help maintain a productive working relationship between industry AOs and their RAMs, and ensure AOs receive technical support as needed, prior to their biennial reappointment. These visits should occur no more than 1 month before the AO’s reappointment. During these visits, both parties:

  • discuss updates to plant export policy
  • confirm whether the industry AO has kept up to date with relevant information, is getting the support they need from the department and their employer and understands how they fit within the plant exports chain.

Although the numbers for this quarter are lower than the previous quarter, this does not indicate a lesser result. Reappointment visit numbers will fluctuate from month to month as AOs become due for reappointment and therefore a reappointment visit.

April to June 2020

State AOs visited
NSW 50
QLD 14
VIC 21
WA 18
SA 11
NT 2
TAS 1
TOTAL 117

RE assurance visits

These visits provided registered establishments (Res) with an experience and accessible departmental presence, and are targeted at REs that employ industry AOs. During these visits, the RAM:

  • discusses any upcoming policy or technical changes with the RE
  • helps identify potential operational risks
  • discusses any issues with managers of the RE.

Registered establishment assurance visit numbers are lower this quarter when compared to the previous quarter. This is mainly due to COVID-19 travel restrictions as these visits are very difficult to conduct over the phone. Many REs have not been willing to spend an extended period of time on the phone, particularly with someone they are yet to meet face-to-face.

April to June 2020

State Visits % with AOs
NSW 16 100%
QLD 16 100%
VIC 4 100%
WA 2 100%
SA 0 N/A
NT 0 N/A
TAS 0 N/A

January to March 2020

AO post-assessment visits

The addition of 3 RAMs in January allowed us to complete 60% of the target post-assessment visits. This is an increase from the previous reporting period and includes any shortfall from the previous reporting period.

January to March 2020

State AOs visited
NSW 11
QLD 11
VIC 23
WA 7
SA 12
TAS 7
TOTAL 71

AO reappointment visits

On average, the RAMs were able to achieve just over 50% of the target reappointment visits, which is a slight decrease from the previous reporting period, but also includes the shortfall from that period. This quarter’s shortfall was not unexpected, owing to the RAMs implementing an additional two onsite visit types—export pathway and PEMS visits.

January to March 2020

State AOs visited
NSW 35
QLD 21
VIC 42
WA 37
SA 22
NT 2
TAS 3
TOTAL 135

RE assurance visits

Of the 92 RE assurance visits undertaken, all were to REs that employ industry AOs.

January to March 2020

State Visits % with AOs
NSW 23 100%
QLD 32 100%
VIC 11 100%
WA 13 100%
SA 6 100%
NT 2 100%
TAS 5 100%

July to December 2019

Authorised officer post-assessment visits

From July to December 2019, 3-6 RAMs achived 114 visits. As expected, the number of visits increased in this reporting period because 3 more RAMs were added to the network.

Number of authorised officer post-assessment visits from July to December 2019

State Actual visits
NSW 13
QLD 13
VIC 30
WA 27
SA 22
TAS 9
TOTAL 114

Authorised officer reappointment visits

The 3-6 RAMs achieved a total of 482 reappointment visits from July to December 2020. As expected, the number of visits increased in this reporting period because 3 more RAMs were added to the network.

Number of authorised officer reappointment visits from July to December 2020

State Actual visits
NSW 78
QLD 79
VIC 134
WA 109
SA 69
TAS 2
TOTAL 482

Registered establishment  assurance visits

Of the 149 RE assurance visits undertaken since July 2019, 94% were to REs that employ industry AOs.

Number of RE assurance visits from July to December 2019

State Visits % with REs
NSW 17 100%
QLD 14 100%
VIC 35 97%
WA 54 89%
SA 24 100%
TAS 5 60%

Contact

Email rams@awe.gov.au

Last reviewed: 20 September 2021
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