National Traceability Project

Our current agricultural traceability systems have been assessed and found to be meeting current needs. This project aimed to enhance our traceability systems for the future.

The Agriculture Senior Officials Committee (AGSOC) National Traceability Project involved 2 stages:

Stage 1 commenced in November 2017. It assessed the current state of Australia’s agricultural traceability systems across most agricultural commodities, and reviewed global drivers for the future.

Stage 2 commenced in October 2018. It involved the development of the National Traceability Framework and Industry Action Plan template for enhancing Australia’s agricultural traceability systems.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 are both now complete.

As part of the Modernising Agricultural Trade initiative, the Traceability Grants Program was announced. The program builds on the work the National Traceability Project undertook. 

Stage 1 - Review of current systems

Stage 1 was completed in October 2018.

Australia’s traceability systems were reviewed for all agricultural commodities, such as food, animal feed, fibre and timber.

In the first stage of the review the working group:

  • considered the current state of Australia’s agricultural traceability systems across most agricultural commodities
  • took a stocktake of current arrangements
  • reviewed global drivers for the future.

Research was mostly desk-based.

Read the Enhancing Australia’s systems for tracing agricultural production and products report of stage 1 findings. The findings include:

  • Our current traceability systems meet our domestic needs and those of our trading partners.
  • There are differences in the sophistication of systems between various industries, mostly due to their varying food safety and biosecurity risk, and the market access requirements of trading partners.
  • We have an opportunity to enhance our traceability systems to ensure we are prepared for any future changes in requirements, and also to provide all of our exporters with a competitive advantage.

Stage 2 - Developing a national traceability framework

Stage 2 was completed in October 2019.

In Stage 2, the working group, in consultation with industry, developed:

  • the National Traceability Framework
  • an Industry Action Plan template to put the framework in place.

The National Traceability Framework

The National Traceability Framework is a tool to guide Australian agricultural industries and food producers, governments and related businesses in enhancing our traceability systems and promoting ‘brand Australia’ in our international markets. Modern, accurate and timely traceability systems can assist in providing additional assurances to consumers of Australian agricultural products and our trading partners, while also producing a range of other benefits such as increasing our market share in international markets.

The framework sets out a common vision, principles for traceability systems, roles and responsibilities of industries, governments and other stakeholders, suggestions for developing an industry action plan to implement the framework, traceability objectives and measures of success. It is the result of extensive collaboration between Australian agricultural industries and the Australian Government.

A copy of the National Traceability Framework can be found below.


Document Pages File size
National Traceability Framework PDFPDF Icon 24 2.1 MB
National Traceability Framework DOCX  24 954 KB

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Industry Action Plan

The Traceability Working Group worked closely with agricultural industries to populate the industry action plan.

The information below combines the visions of agricultural industries’ for their future traceability systems into themes. It includes initiatives to deliver the visions, in collaboration with Australian state and territory governments.

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Industries' Vision

Data and Information

  • Identify, maintain and utilise relevant information about supply chains for all key agricultural products.
  • Develop and maintain databases of information that enable provenance claims of consolidated goods and/or finished products to be supported.


  • Adopt new integrity approaches, which may be disruptive technologies that automate data collection, and verify the data collected using analytics, algorithms and other technology.
  • Invest in real time or passive traceability, enabling permanent tracing throughout the supply chain using suitable technologies, e.g. automated sensory technology, wider application of Quick Response (QR) codes, block chain systems, traceable fibres and markers, and the internet.

Common Language

  • Implement standards-based traceability systems that harmonise domestic and international standards and codes to increase efficiency in tracing goods for a range of purposes.


  • Support initiatives for active uptake and effective implementation of new approaches and technologies.
  • Realise benefits of all activities undertaken by rolling-out communication strategies to support, monitor and guide implementation.

Possible Future Initiatives

Industry and government will work together to:

  • map and maintain supply chain information.
  • expand opportunities to build on a database of isotope fingerprinting and genetic markers to support provenance claims for a broad range of Australian agricultural products, e.g. blended wool, finished garments.
  • identify and trial technology options to track commodities in real time along a supply chain, including tracing the processing, storage and transport conditions of the commodities.
  • develop short-term, low cost technological solutions that enable product at the point of sale to be passively traced back to a producer in a timely manner.
  • investigate preferred approaches to, and develop principles for, harmonised standards.
  • design interoperable approaches leveraging and building on existing systems, business processes and technologies where possible, to reduce cost and improve uptake.
  • articulate the benefits of all efforts and activities to enhance traceability systems.
  • monitor the uptake of these enhancements by participants along the supply chains.

Each industry commodity group has the opportunity to develop an Industry Action Plan specific to that group, with support from the government. The Industry Action Plan is intended to be revised and updated from time to time. It represents industries’ commitment to enhancing their future traceability systems.

Public consultation

Consultation has now closed.

We sought feedback on the industry action plan template and the National Traceability Framework.

The Traceability Working Group considered all feedback.

Read more about the consultation process on Have Your Say.

Agricultural industries will work closely with the Traceability Working Group to populate the action plan template. The final version will be published on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’ website in due course.

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What is traceability?

Traceability is the ability to follow the movement of a product through stages of production, processing and distribution (ISO 2007).1

Australia’s agricultural traceability systems include all government regulation and industry arrangements that enable tracing of agricultural production and products, back and forward along entire supply chains. At each step in the supply chain, participants should be able to trace one step forward and one step back.

Why is traceability important?

Consumers and trading partners want to know more about the products they buy. Including information about:

  • food safety
  • animal and plant pest and disease status
  • provenance
  • authenticity
  • social matters such as sustainability and animal welfare practices.

Good traceability supports claims made about food.

Australia has a reputation for exporting safe products that meet importing country requirements, and producing safe food for domestic supply.

This project will further enhance the integrity of our systems.

Many Australian agricultural producers and exporters already realise the commercial benefits of enhancing traceability. It improves competitiveness and provides assurance for customers.

Traceability Working Group

A cross-jurisdictional Traceability Working Group, led by the Commonwealth, with membership from the states and territories, is developing a national approach to Australia’s traceability systems. Members of the Traceability Working Group are listed below.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is supporting the Working Group as the Secretariat and the point of contact for stakeholders.


Chair Ms Ann McDonald Assistant Secretary, Export Reform and Traceability, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Australian Government Jo Laduzko Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity Policy & Response, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
New South Wales Dianna Watkins

Group Director
Policy, Legislation, Performance & Consultation
NSW Department of Primary Industries

Victoria Melinda Knapp

Director, Export Development and Investment Strategy Agriculture Policy, Agriculture Victoria

Queensland Malcolm Letts Acting Chief Biosecurity Officer, Biosecurity Queensland
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Western Australia Peter Gray Director Livestock Biosecurity,
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
South Australia John Virtue General Manager, Policy, Strategy & Invasive Species, Biosecurity SA, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia
Tasmania Chris Lyall Manager (Product Integrity), Chief Inspector of Primary Produce Safety, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
Northern Territory Susanne Fitzpatrick Chief Veterinary Officer, Livestock Biosecurity,
Department of Industry Tourism and Trade
Australian Capital Territory Wendy Townsend Chief Veterinary Officer, ACT
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Angela Davies  
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Mark Hedley  
Last reviewed: 6 January 2021
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