The Australian Government is set to trial new industry arrangements that aim to reduce red tape and biosecurity regulatory costs for importers and agricultural businesses.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud and Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said the trials were expected to start in July.
“Biosecurity underpins access to markets and trade diversification efforts for our agricultural and food exporters,” Minister Littleproud said.
“It helps our agricultural industries to avoid pest and disease costs faced by many overseas growers, boosting profits and protecting Australia’s reputation as a producer of clean and green goods.
“Robust biosecurity controls also protect the environment, our way of life, and support job sustainability and growth in regional communities.
“This proposal will involve the design and delivery of up to three pilots with highly compliant entities to test the ability to manage end to end biosecurity risks across importer supply chains.
“This will reduce regulatory intervention and associated costs for these entities and other entities who invest heavily in commercial quality assurance systems and have a good track record of biosecurity compliance.”
Assistant Minister Morton said the pilots will act as proof of concepts.
“If successful, the pilots will lead to more permanent arrangements that will free up existing departmental biosecurity officer capacity to concentrate on areas of higher risk, compliance and business improvement,” Assistant Minister Morton said.
“The pilots will also help to inform priorities for other co-regulation arrangements as recommended by the Inspector-General for Biosecurity.
“This measure is part of the Government’s deregulation agenda and a key part of the Government’s plan to support economic recovery, by making it easier for businesses to invest and create jobs.
“Modernising our regulatory practices will minimise the administrative burden on industry as biosecurity officers will not have to physically attend their sites, other than for verification and audit purposes.
“This will save importers from having to delay movement of goods until the inspection is complete, the cost of which can reach up to $5 million per annum for some of our larger and more regular importers.”
- Depending on participant capacity, the trials will run simultaneously or consecutively, with the first commencing 1 July 2021. All pilots will conclude by the end of 2021.
- Faster biosecurity clearance processes will benefit farmers and producers who require goods from overseas (eg. machinery parts, fertiliser) to operate or advance their business, particularly where those goods are in short supply within Australia
- Australia’s biosecurity system also protects $42 billion in inbound tourism, $53 billion in agricultural exports and 1.6 million Australian jobs across the supply chain.