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Export Changes Expected to Harvest Benefits

30 September 2011

AUSTRALIA - Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has announced significant improvements to the inspection and certification for export of grain, seeds, nuts, fodder and other plant products to take effect from 1 January 2012.

"Australia's grain and oilseed exports are worth more than $6 billion annually and contribute significantly to regional Australia," Minister Ludwig said.

"The efficiencies will deliver exporters greater flexibility regarding the timing of inspections and at what point in the export pathway these export inspections can be performed.

"Exporters will have greater access to appropriately qualified people to perform export inspection work, the use of sophisticated web-based IT systems to track performance, streamline certification processes as well as access to up-to-date phytosanitary market information.

"The Grain Industry Taskforce has been working in partnership with the department to design the efficiencies which will be underpinned by new legislation; web based inspection manuals and advanced eLearning training materials."

The Australian Government will provide $2.5 million in transitional support for Australian grain exporters.

New fees and charges have been developed with industry to align with the new certification system and will be introduced into parliament within the year.

"These changes are an important part of reforming Australia's biosecurity system through better and more efficient operational systems and more effective regulatory frameworks," Minister Ludwig said.

"The taskforce and department will provide further details directly to industry and other stakeholders through a series of information workshops to be held around Australia from late September."

Minister Ludwig encouraged those with an interest in the revised export certification system to attend information sessions being coordinated across the country, which will be facilitated by the CEO of Grain Trade Australia, Mr Geoff Honey.

Mr Honey says that the broader industry looks forward to working with the Minister and AQIS staff to implement the reforms.

"The reforms already achieved and those to commence from 1 January 2012 will assist Australia's competiveness in this vital export industry," Mr Honey said.

"The Government calls on the Coalition to support these important reforms which will support jobs in regional Australia," Minister Ludwig said.

TheCropSite News Desk

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