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Less Red Tape to Aid Agricultural Exports

12 January 2012, at 9:07am

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Government is boosting regional economies through $30 million in support and a further A$30 million per annum in reduced red tape for agricultural export industries.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the changes to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) export certification services were made under the Export Certification Reform Package to deliver better and more flexible arrangements for exporters.

“In October 2011, improvements in the meat inspection programme introduced flexibility and efficiency through the implementation of AQIS Authorised Officers,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Changes to the meat programme will reduce the regulatory cost of export certification by A$27 million per annum and are being supported by $25.8 million in transitional assistance.

“On 1 January 2012, new arrangements commenced for exports of grain, fish and egg products.

“The Government will provide A$1.5 million to support efficiencies in the fish and eggs programme and A$2.5 million to support the changes to the grain export programme.”

Minister Ludwig said the changes were developed in close partnership with export groups to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements.

“None of the reforms that have been agreed and implemented could be delivered without an effective working partnership with exporters,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Australia’s agriculture industries support 300,000 jobs in regional communities.”

“I’m calling on the Opposition to support these important reforms, including underpinning regulations, and show their commitment to jobs in regional Australia rather than playing politics with regional communities.

“Export reforms will improve confidence in Australia’s export certification systems and improve the competitiveness of Australia’s A$32 billion agricultural export industries.”

Highlights of the new service delivery arrangements follow. A full report on each project is available at www.daff.gov.au/ecri.

Meat Processors

The new arrangements deliver up to A$27.4 million per annum in efficiencies in addition to the Gillard Government’s $25.8 million in transitional assistance.

Meat exporters were the first to benefit from the implementation of AQIS Authorised Officers, commencing new service delivery arrangements 1 October 2011. The new model provides greater assurance to trading partners that Australian export meat satisfies their import requirements, including through increased collection of verification data during the production process.

The Government continues discussions with the cold storage and further processing establishments to find further efficiencies and consider the case for further assistance.

Grains

Up to A$0.2 million in efficiencies are being implemented in the grain export certification programme and up to A$2.5 million in transitional assistance will also be provided.

The grains programme, which includes seeds, nuts, fodder and other plant products, commenced new arrangements on 1 January. Grains exporters will benefit from new outcomes based legislation that enables more flexible arrangements for inspections to be conducted at various points along the supply chain.

Seafood and Eggs

Up to $0.8 million in efficiencies are being implemented and up to A$1.5 million in transitional assistance will also be provided to benefit seafood and egg exporters.

Export costs will decrease for seafood exporters as they move to one regulatory audit by approved auditors, following conclusion of agreements between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and state based regulatory authorities.

Dairy

Up to A$0.1 million in efficiencies are being implemented and details are being finalised to provide dairy exporters with administrative support from the Australian Government to implement a dairy industry strategic plan, developed as part of the reform process.

Horticulture

Up to A$0.8 million in annual efficiencies are being implemented and the Government is working closely with the citrus, mango and table grape sectors to pilot AQIS Authorised Officers and demonstrate their efficacy to export markets.

Live Animal Trade

Reforms to the Live Animal exports programme being considered in light of the outcomes and Government response to the Farmer Review. Live Exporters will nonetheless benefit from more efficient and streamlined licensing arrangements along with a new IT system known as Tracking Animal Certification for Export (TRACE). TRACE manages the application and approval processes for consignments of all live animals exported from Australia.