Draft Export Control Bill 2017

Public consultation on the draft Export Control Bill 2017 is closed.

Consultation commenced on 25 August 2017 and closed on 24 October 2017.

We are improving Australia’s agricultural export legislation. This is part of our wider initiative to strengthen Australian agricultural exports and market access.

The improvements will provide the same level of regulatory oversight while:

  • making laws more relevant, responsive and efficient for exporters, farmers and other primary producers
  • removing duplication
  • ensuring consistency across commodities where possible.

This will help exporters, farmers and other primary producers understand and comply with the laws.

We provided a draft Export Control Bill 2017 and Risk Impact Statement for comment. The Export Control Bill (the Bill) will provide the primary means for the Australian government to regulate the export of agricultural goods from Australian territories.

The Bill will:

  • support access to international trading markets for Australian goods
  • protect Australia’s reputation as a reliable source of safe and high-quality goods
  • ensure exported goods meet importing country requirements and relevant government and industry standards
  • maintain the integrity of goods and accuracy of trade descriptions and official marks.

We used your input to develop and refine the Bill. The Export Control Bill 2017 was then introduced into the Australian Parliament on 7 December 2017. It lapsed with the prorogation of the Australian Parliament for the 2019 General Election. We are working with the government to determine when the Bill will be re-introduced.

How you had your say

We sought feedback from people across government and the agricultural export sector. This included:

  • Industry/peak bodies
  • Government agencies
  • Exporters and producers
  • Departmental officers
  • Authorised officers
  • Industry consultative committees
  • Other community groups.

You gave feedback through:

  • information sessions held around Australia
  • online written submissions.

Who engaged

Online Submission

We received 25 submissions from businesses, industry groups and state and territory governments. Most submissions have been published. A small number were marked confidential in part, or in full.

Meetings

90 industry representatives from across the export supply chain attended an information session. Among other sectors, they included grains, meat and livestock, horticulture, organics and dairy. Information sessions were held in:

  • Canberra, ACT
  • Perth, WA
  • Brisbane, QLD
  • Melbourne, VIC
  • Hobart, TAS
  • Albury, NSW
  • Sydney, NSW
  • Adelaide, SA
  • Darwin, NT.

What you said

In general, most stakeholders supported a simpler and more flexible export legislative framework. Amongst the responses there was clear recognition of the role of efficient and effective export legislation in underpinning the growth and maintenance of our export industries. You also provided constructive and useful feedback on specific issues and provisions.

What happens next

We have considered all submissions, and where appropriate, changes were made to the Bill before it was introduced to Parliament.

We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders as we draft the rules and other legislation. You will be able to have your say on these as they are developed.

Register your interest to stay informed about consultation on other draft export legislation.

Public consultation on the draft Export Control Bill 2017 is closed.

Consultation commenced on 25 August 2017 and closed on 24 October 2017.

We are improving Australia’s agricultural export legislation. This is part of our wider initiative to strengthen Australian agricultural exports and market access.

The improvements will provide the same level of regulatory oversight while:

  • making laws more relevant, responsive and efficient for exporters, farmers and other primary producers
  • removing duplication
  • ensuring consistency across commodities where possible.

This will help exporters, farmers and other primary producers understand and comply with the laws.

We provided a draft Export Control Bill 2017 and Risk Impact Statement for comment. The Export Control Bill (the Bill) will provide the primary means for the Australian government to regulate the export of agricultural goods from Australian territories.

The Bill will:

  • support access to international trading markets for Australian goods
  • protect Australia’s reputation as a reliable source of safe and high-quality goods
  • ensure exported goods meet importing country requirements and relevant government and industry standards
  • maintain the integrity of goods and accuracy of trade descriptions and official marks.

We used your input to develop and refine the Bill. The Export Control Bill 2017 was then introduced into the Australian Parliament on 7 December 2017. It lapsed with the prorogation of the Australian Parliament for the 2019 General Election. We are working with the government to determine when the Bill will be re-introduced.

How you had your say

We sought feedback from people across government and the agricultural export sector. This included:

  • Industry/peak bodies
  • Government agencies
  • Exporters and producers
  • Departmental officers
  • Authorised officers
  • Industry consultative committees
  • Other community groups.

You gave feedback through:

  • information sessions held around Australia
  • online written submissions.

Who engaged

Online Submission

We received 25 submissions from businesses, industry groups and state and territory governments. Most submissions have been published. A small number were marked confidential in part, or in full.

Meetings

90 industry representatives from across the export supply chain attended an information session. Among other sectors, they included grains, meat and livestock, horticulture, organics and dairy. Information sessions were held in:

  • Canberra, ACT
  • Perth, WA
  • Brisbane, QLD
  • Melbourne, VIC
  • Hobart, TAS
  • Albury, NSW
  • Sydney, NSW
  • Adelaide, SA
  • Darwin, NT.

What you said

In general, most stakeholders supported a simpler and more flexible export legislative framework. Amongst the responses there was clear recognition of the role of efficient and effective export legislation in underpinning the growth and maintenance of our export industries. You also provided constructive and useful feedback on specific issues and provisions.

What happens next

We have considered all submissions, and where appropriate, changes were made to the Bill before it was introduced to Parliament.

We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders as we draft the rules and other legislation. You will be able to have your say on these as they are developed.

Register your interest to stay informed about consultation on other draft export legislation.

  • Most common issues you raised

    24 days ago

    Export Control Rules

    Feedback

    Industry should be consulted during the development of the operational and technical aspects of the commodity specific rules.

    Response

    We will develop the rules throughout 2018 and 2019.

    Industry involvement in the development of the rules is important to ensure they are fit for purpose. There will be ample opportunity for industry to provide feedback on the details of the provisions and consultation will be undertaken as each commodity specific rule is developed.

    Feedback

    The rules need to provide the same level of cover as the existing regulations, ensuring compliance and market access are not jeopardised.

    ...

    Export Control Rules

    Feedback

    Industry should be consulted during the development of the operational and technical aspects of the commodity specific rules.

    Response

    We will develop the rules throughout 2018 and 2019.

    Industry involvement in the development of the rules is important to ensure they are fit for purpose. There will be ample opportunity for industry to provide feedback on the details of the provisions and consultation will be undertaken as each commodity specific rule is developed.

    Feedback

    The rules need to provide the same level of cover as the existing regulations, ensuring compliance and market access are not jeopardised.

    Response

    The rules will:

    • replace the current Export Control Orders
    • set out the operational requirements that agricultural exporters must meet
    • be based on the requirements set out in the current Export Control Orders.

    Improvements to the export framework will not impact Australia’s commitment to meet importing country requirements.

    Powers of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture

    Feedback

    The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture has the power to make or change rules. Industry consultation mechanisms must apply and there must be limitations for the scope and exercise of these powers.

    Response

    The Bill delegates the power to make rules to the Secretary, consistent with the powers given to the Minister under the current framework.

    This allows the Australian government to be more responsive to changes in the global trade environment and importing country requirements.

    The rules will be legislative instruments and will be subject to the requirements of the Legislation Act 2003, including parliamentary scrutiny, oversight, disallowance and sunsetting.

    The Secretary will need to obtain appropriate government authority to make major changes to the rules. Where changes to the rules have more than a minor regulatory impact, they will need to be subject to a regulatory impact statement. Changes to minor matters (such as technical requirements) can be made more quickly. Stakeholder consultation regarding changes to the rules is important.

    The Bill also includes a power for the Minister to issue directions to the Secretary about the Secretary’s rule making power. This direction may require the Secretary to make specific rules or take certain things into account in making rules.

    Directions made by the Minister to the Secretary will be a legislative instrument but will not be subject to disallowance or sunsetting. This will ensure the Minister has appropriate oversight of the regulatory framework.

    Feedback

    The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture has broad powers to vary, suspend or revoke export licences.

    Response

    The Bill does not override the requirement for the Secretary to provide procedural fairness in making decisions.

    For decisions to vary, suspend or revoke licences the Secretary must give the holder a show cause notice before taking action, unless the circumstances are serious and urgent.

    We recognise the significant consequences of suspension and revocation, it is appropriate to take immediate and decisive action in these situations.

    The term ‘serious and urgent’ won’t be defined in the Bill given the variety of circumstances that might demand immediate action. The decision to suspend or revoke a licence is also a reviewable decision.

    Temporarily or absolutely prohibiting goods from export

    Feedback

    Changes to the legislative power enable the Minister to temporarily or absolutely prohibit goods from export. A clear system of checks and balances and clarity on this power is required.

    Response

    The Bill provides the Minister with the power to temporarily prohibit the export of certain goods, or the export of certain goods to a specified place, where satisfied that it is necessary to protect human, animal and plant life or health, or to secure compliance with an Australian law other than the Bill.

    The Minister will have the power to temporarily or absolutely prohibit the export of goods from Australian territory, or from a part of Australian territory, for a period of up to 6 months. This determination will be able to be made if the Minister is satisfied it is necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health.

    A direction from the Minister is a legislative instrument and it must be tabled in Parliament where it is subject to disallowance. The Minister must exercise this discretion in compliance with Australia’s international obligations, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.

    Traceability

    Feedback

    Traceability, where required by the importing country, could be beneficial in some instances. Clarification on how the department will balance importing country requirements against the practicalities of the privacy laws and obligations of suppliers and growers and commercial outcomes is required.

    Response

    The Bill provides the framework for regulating agricultural commodity exports where required, to facilitate market access and protect Australia’s reputation.

    For many sectors, traceability across the supply chain is integral to maintaining market access. It is useful, therefore, to enable regulatory measures in the improved framework that assist with traceability to be applied in any sector in the future, should there be a need to do so.

    There is no intention to change the existing regulatory requirements for traceability as a result of this project.

    Compliance and enforcement

    Feedback

    The inclusion of additional powers and the provision of a more graduated enforcement regime is welcomed. The Bill needs to articulate when it is appropriate to use specific powers.

    Response

    The Bill seeks to apply the standard compliance and enforcement provisions in the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014. This will provide the department with a greater range of compliance and enforcement powers than those that are currently available under the current Act.

    We will be able to use a range of modern enforcement tools to deal with non-compliance, including criminal and civil penalties, infringement notices, enforceable undertakings, injunctions and administrative sanctions such as suspension or revocation. These changes ensure that non-compliance can be managed more effectively.

    We will develop policies that guide how it targets its sanctions and responds to instances of non-compliance. These policies should not be set out in the Bill.

    Fit and proper persons

    Feedback

    The new fit and proper person test is prescriptive in nature when compared to the current regime, including extending the required test to the assessment of associates.

    Response

    The fit and proper person test aims to ensure that persons involved in the export supply chain are trustworthy and will not put Australia’s trade at risk.

    We will not hold a person to account for the actions of any or all of their associates. Unless there is some suggestion that the associate is in a position to exercise influence over the person’s business or role.

    Every decision involving the fit and proper person test is reviewable.

    Transition

    Feedback

    The cost of transition can be quite high, so there must be a clear economic benefit to making this investment given the department’s financial resourcing.

    Response

    The improvements to the agricultural export legislative framework are aimed at continued market access, rather than finding significant regulatory savings. Improvements will:

    • reduce complexity, duplication and ambiguity
    • make legislation easier to understand, administer and use.

    These improvements will not impact Australia’s commitment to meet importing country requirements.

    Feedback

    When will the transitional arrangements be developed?

    Response

    We expect to provide the Export Control (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill for comment in 2019. It aims to minimise impacts of the transition on industry. Consultation will be undertaken on the transitional arrangements to ensure industry are aware of their obligations.