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

Introduction to Parliament

The Bill was introduced into the Australian Parliament on 4 December 2019. The Bill and the explanatory memorandum (including the Regulation Impact Statement) that were introduced into Parliament can be found on the Parliament House website under Export Control Bill 2019 and Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019,

Work on the legislative instruments to support the new Act (the Export Control Rules) is well progressed. The Export Legislation Taskforce will undertake consultation on the Export Control Rules as they are developed.

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

Export Control Bills 2019 Package

Consulting on the Export Control Bills 2019 Package finished on 9 October. The feedback process resulted in some minor changes.  The Bills Package will be supported by the 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.

We will continue to consult on other draft legislative instruments as we develop them. Register for updates.

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. We are consolidating and streamlining existing export-related requirements. The new legislative framework will include:

  • the Export Control Bill 2019
  • the Export Control Rules 2020.
  • the Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019 (the C&T Bill)
  • three Export Charges Amendment Bills 2019 (the Imposition Amendment Bills).

The improved legislative framework will replace:

  • the existing 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 Bill 2019

The Export Control Bill 2019 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 draft Export Control Bill 2019 has now closed for public consultation and we are working with government to re-introduced the Bill in late 2019.

Export Control Rules 2020

The Export Control Rules 2020 are based on the current Export Control Orders.

The rules will outline the requirements agricultural exporters must meet to export specific commodities. This includes requirements on:

  • where and how products are prepared
  • when permits and certificates are necessary to export from Australia.

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

Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019

This Bill 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.

Imposition Amendment Bills 2019

The Imposition Amendment Bills are:

  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Customs) Amendment Bill 2019
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Excise) Amendment Bill 2019
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-General) Amendment Bill 2019

These Bills will make consequential amendments to existing Imposition Acts:

  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Customs) Act 2015
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-Excise) Act 2015
  • the Export Charges (Imposition-General) Act 2015

Next steps

We will continue to develop and consult on draft Export Control Rules. This will include rules for:

  • wood and wood chips
  • poultry
  • rabbit and ratite
  • wild game
  • plant
  • organic produce
  • live animal exports
  • animal food and pharmaceutical material
  • non-prescribed goods (certification)
  • tariff rate quota export.

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Last reviewed: 6 December 2019