Improved on-shore arrangements for Australian live exporters
6 November 2015
New arrangements designed to support Australian exporters prepare quality live animal consignments to meet animal welfare standards and the requirements of importing countries have been announced today by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce.
Mr Joyce said the new regulations of the trade would reduce the regulatory burden by $1.2 million per annum, but also allow exporters and the government to focus their attention and resources on areas of the highest risk while ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare are maintained through the supply chain.
"Today we are delivering on our election commitment to reform the livestock export certification process by introducing approved arrangements that will save industry $1.2 million in wasted time and effort," Minister Joyce said.
"Approved arrangements only apply to on-shore activities conducted within Australia, where existing animal welfare is strong, and do not change existing ESCAS requirements in any way.
"These arrangements will help ensure the system focuses resources on areas of highest risk and encourage continual improvement by rewarding compliant exporter performance."
Minister Joyce said that under approved arrangements, compliant exporters would be subject to streamlined verification processes, which would help free-up their time and resources to focus on the most important parts of their business, including ensuring animal welfare standards are met.
"Under approved arrangements, instead of continually approving mountains of documents the department will be able to focus on exporters' business systems, identifying areas of risk and ensuring exporters address any deficiencies before they escalate," Minister Joyce said.
"Through an increased focus on exporters' business systems, including a stronger emphasis on auditing, the department will be better able to ensure exporters consistently prepare livestock consignments that meet all regulatory requirements.
"This is one more way that this government is reducing unnecessary red tape, duplication of effort and administrative burden for our agricultural industries.
"This initiative complements recent live export reforms, including new audit requirements for ESCAS introduced in April this year that allow stronger scrutiny for poor performers and high-risk markets."
Minister Joyce said the live export industry provides communities well beyond farmers with economic benefits and employment opportunities, with an estimate of up to 10,000 people involved directly and indirectly in the industry.
"The Australian Government remains committed to the best possible market access opportunities and farmgate returns for Australian live animal exporters, and since 2013 we've successfully negotiated access to another seven livestock export markets—Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, Cambodia, Thailand, Lebanon and China," Minister Joyce said.
"Through ESCAS we have also improved welfare outcomes well beyond our shores and well beyond Australian animals. Australia is the only one of more than 100 countries exporting live animals that requires World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) welfare standards to be met as a minimum for exported livestock."
Approved arrangements will be compulsory for livestock exports from 1 January 2017.