Media Release​

New Export Control Bill to minimise export costs and drive productivity

7 December 2017

  • The Coalition Government is simplifying legislation governing agricultural exports
  • The new legislation will provide a 'one stop shop' for export rules for agricultural goods
  • This will ensure farmers and exporters are supported by contemporary, flexible and efficient legislation.​

A Bill introduced into Parliament today will better support exporters and farmers to minimise the costs of doing business, as well as continue to provide the robust regulation expected by our trading partners.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Bill forms part of the Coalition Government's work to ensure there are appropriate regulatory settings in place to help drive productivity.

"Over the 35 years since the Export Control Act 1982 commenced, the legislation governing agricultural exports has ballooned into a complex web of regulation—17 Acts and over 40 legislative instruments to meet the needs and challenges of the international trade environment," Minister Joyce said.

"We need something more coherent in place so that the rules for exporting are simpler and easier to understand and comply with."

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said this new legislation will provide our exporters more opportunity to innovate and the confidence to pursue lucrative export opportunities, particularly for new and emerging industries.

"This Bill ensures that Australian agricultural exports can continue to capitalise on opportunities in international markets and meet the challenges that come with changing consumer preferences," Minister Ruston said.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said there will be no change to Australia's commitment to meet the importing country requirements of our trading partners. 

"Australia is the proud exporter of high quality, clean and green produce that meets extremely high standards set by our international trading partners, and the new Bill will ensure our excellent global reputation remains firmly intact," Minister Hartsuyker said.

Tony Mahar of the National Farmers' Federation welcomed the introduction of the Bill and the Coalition Government's commitment to reducing red tape and creating a better business environment for agricultural exporters and farmers.

"We look forward to the Government's ongoing stakeholder consultation to ensure the rules and policies that support the Bill provide the best possible system that is tailored to each commodity group," Mr Mahar said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Tanya Barden, also expressed support for the Government's work to simplify requirements with the intention to increase responsiveness and flexibility.

The Bill has been developed in consultation with industry representatives, state and territory governments and overseas trading partners. The government will continue to engage with industry stakeholders in developing the rules which will support the Bill over the course of 2018–19 as well as ensuring there is no impact on existing business practices.

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Fast facts

  • Agricultural exports accounted for around $53.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2016‑17.
  • Our agricultural exports are currently overseen by 17 Acts and more than 40 legislative instruments.
  • This includes legislative instruments which regulate the export of fish, eggs, dairy, beef, lamb, goat, rabbit and pig meat, poultry meat, wild game meat, ratite (e.g. emu) meat, live animals (including livestock), and plants and plant products.
  • Ties in with wider government initiatives to support agricultural exports, including $30.8 million under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to increase our overseas counsellor network and reducing technical barriers to trade. ​​