Improving agricultural export legislation

Agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports are an economic powerhouse for Australia and are expected to be worth around $51 billion in 2019-20.

Strengthening the competitiveness and productivity of Australia's agriculture sector is a key commitment of the Morrison McCormack Government

Bills passed by Parliament

The Export Control Bills Package 2019 (the Bills Package) was passed by Parliament without amendment on 27 February 2020. The passed Bills and their explanatory memoranda (including the Regulation Impact Statement) can be found on the Parliament House website:

The Bills became Acts when they received Royal Assent on 6 March 2020. The Export Control Act 2020 (the Act) will be the central pillar of the new framework for Australia’s agricultural exports. The Act will be supported by a suite of legislative instruments, the Export Control Rules 2020 (the rules).

The improved legislative framework will commence shortly before 1 April 2021.

Export Control Rules 2020

The Export Control Rules 2020 (the rules) outline the operational requirements agricultural exporters must meet to export specific commodities from Australia. They are based on the current orders and regulations for various commodities under the Export Control Act 1982 and Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997. This includes requirements on where and how products are prepared and when permits and certificates are necessary to export from Australia.

The rules will be legislative instruments under the Export Control Act. They will be made by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and will be subject to parliamentary checks and balances, in line with the current Orders.

Work on the rules is well progressed. The Export Legislation Taskforce will continue to consult on the rules as they are developed to ensure they are clear and fit for purpose. Register for updates.

Submissions on the Consultation Draft Export Control (Poultry Meat and Poultry Meat Products) Rules 2020 (the draft poultry rules), the Consultation Draft Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Rules 2020 (draft meat rules) and the Consultation Draft Export Control (Wood and Woodchips) Rules 2020 (draft wood rules) can be made until 8 May 2020. You can find out more at the Have Your Say pages for the draft poultry rules,  draft meat rules and the draft wood rules.

Trading partners will be consulted on the full suite of rules once an exposure draft of all the rules has been developed later in 2020. Trading partners will be able to access the available draft rules on the department’s website at this time and advice will be provided through an updated SPS notification.

Previous export legislation consultation

We have previously consulted on:

Improved legislative framework

Australia’s agricultural export legislation underpins our reputation as a supplier of safe and reliable food and other products. It also assures our trading partners that Australian exports meet their requirements.

Agricultural exports are currently regulated by over 20 Acts and 40 pieces of delegated legislation. The Act consolidates and streamlines existing export-related requirements. The new legislative framework will include:

The improved legislative framework will replace:

  • the Export Control Act 1982
  • export-related provisions in the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997
  • legislative instruments, such as orders and regulations.

Some of the current legislative instruments were due to ‘sunset’ (cease to be law) on 1 April 2020. The Attorney-General signed a certificate on 16 September 2019 to defer the sunsetting of 19 legislative instruments under the Export Control Act 1982 and the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997 until 1 April 2021.

The improvements will make the legislation more relevant, responsive and efficient for exporters, farmers and other primary producers. It will still provide strong regulation while removing duplication and ensuring consistency across commodities where possible.

We remain committed to meeting our trading partners’ importing country requirements.

Key areas of improvement include:

  • Streamlining and consolidating
  • Compliance and enforcement
  • Incorporating related reforms
  • Certifying goods
  • Authorised Officers.

Find out more about the improvements on the Have Your Say pages for:

[expand all]

Export Control Act 2020

The Export Control Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 6 March 2020 and is the key piece of primary legislation in the new framework. It will ensure:

  • exported goods meet the requirements of importing countries
  • government and relevant industry standards are complied with
  • goods are traceable throughout the export supply chain—from production and processing to exporting—where required
  • the integrity of goods, and the accuracy of applied trade descriptions and official marks, are maintained.

The Export Control Bill 2017 was introduced into Parliament on 7 December 2017. It lapsed following the call for the 2019 General Election.

The Export Control Bill 2019 was introduced into Parliament on 4 December 2019. It was passed by Parliament on 27 February 2020.

Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2020

This C&T Act will repeal and amend other Acts and provide for transition from the old legislation to the new.

Wherever possible, something that exists under the old legislation (such as an approved arrangement) will continue in force under the new legislation.

Next steps

We will continue to develop and consult on draft Export Control Rules.

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Last reviewed: 23 April 2020