Australian livestock exporters air concern over ‘fundamental problems’ with reform

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce: Reform will make the live export industry "more competitive"
Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce: Reform will make the live export industry "more competitive"

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The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) has welcomed government reform to streamline export certification processes, but harbours concern over the amount it will save meat producers.

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce confirmed today (Thursday 7 April) that meat producers are eligible for an Approved Arrangement when preparing to export livestock.

Reform to the export processes for Australian producers has been established to reduce government regulation and minimise costs for compliant meat exports by streamlining the export certification process.

The news was hailed by the ALEC’s CEO Alison Penfold, who said it was a “reform that has been on our industry’s regulatory agenda for a long time, so we welcome today’s announcement​”.

‘Jury is out’

Penfold also said she harboured doubt over the legitimacy of government figures that suggested the reform would lead to a 30% decrease in charges. As such, ALEC said it would closely monitor the implementation of the policy with “caution​”.

Livestock exporters would hope to enjoy a reduction in government charges on that scale, but the jury is out on whether it will ever materialise across the board,​” Penfold said.

We were pushed into negotiating a new framework for fees and charges at the same time as working through arrangements for the implementation of Approved Arrangements.

In our view, any figures on reductions in government charges are still only estimates which, as we already know from modelling, are not fairly distributed across all exporters, markets or species. In addition, there are still fundamental problems with the framework, particularly around the contribution to corporate overheads and an absence of departmental productivity improvements.​”

Benefits of Approved Arrangement for meat exporters

  • Significantly shortened processes for a Notice of Intention for export (NOI)
  • No need for a separate Consignment Risk Management Plan (CRMP) to be approved for each export
  • No need for an Approved Export Plan (AEP) or Permission to Leave for Loading (PLL)

Fair and transparent

ALEC said it would vociferously champion any way in which overhead costs could be reduced for meat exporters.

A recent economic analysis by Ernst & Young to inform the Australian government’s Productivity Commission into the Regulation of Agriculture found that Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) cost meat exports AU$22.3m in regulatory burdens per year.

Penfold said the only way to make the new reforms work would be if minister Barnaby Joyce agreed to a “full independent review of the fees and charges framework for live animal exports​”.

Penfold added: “As minister Joyce has said, a fairer and more transparent system is important because it gives Australian exporters more confidence about the way the government recovers the cost of export, and better visibility of how costs are calculated and passed on.​”

The measures launched by the Australian government would allow the administration to maintain control and oversight over meat exporters. They are aimed at reducing delays to gaining export certificates by cutting repetitive paperwork and administration tasks mainly carried out in the capital, Canberra.

Related topics Business Oceania Supply chain Meat

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