Export legislation aimed to make food exporting easier

A draft of a Bill introduced to parliament – the Export Control Bill 2019 – is designed to strengthen the competitiveness and productivity of Australian agriculture.

Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said the Bill would make it easier for exporters to do business by untangling existing legislation and allowing for the certification of a broader range of goods.

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

“As a premium and reliable producer of clean and green goods we have a competitive advantage—but it’s an ever increasing and changing marketplace and drought is adding considerably to the challenge.

“We need sharp and sensible export legislation that backs our farmers to ensure they can fully capitalise on lucrative export opportunities.

“This Bill provides clearer regulation that supports innovation and the export of a broader range of goods while ensuring that regulatory settings maintain the standards our trading partners expect.

“It also provides stronger deterrents for that tiny minority who might consider ignoring their legal responsibilities. It includes clearer monitoring and enforcement powers, new criminal offences and increased penalties for those who choose to flaunt our laws.

“This Bill protects the businesses of our exporters who do the right thing and punishes those who threaten to undermine Australia’s trading reputation.”

McKenzie said in the 37 years since the Export Control Act 1982 commenced, the legislation had ballooned into a complex web of regulation.

“This Bill consolidates export certification provisions that are currently scattered through about 20 Acts and 40 pieces of subordinate legislation,” McKenzie said.

“In refining our export legislation, our Government has worked hard with importing countries to provide assurances that our level of regulatory oversight remains the same.

“We’ve also consulted widely with industry and stakeholders to develop a legislative framework that’s modern, supports innovation, is easier to understand and champions our clean and green status.

“This Bill is just one of many Liberal and Nationals Government initiatives to support agriculture’s goal of becoming a $100 billion industry by 2030.”