The Coalition Government is investing $800,000 to support horticulture exporters, in particular small exporters, by bolstering the number of industry-based Plant Export Authorised Officers (AOs) by more than one-third.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton said by training up to 400 additional AOs, horticulture exporters would save time and money and enjoy increased flexibility in their export operations.
“This project, under the Coalition’s Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE), will boost the number of industry AOs available on the ground across Australia,” Minister Joyce said.
“Exporters can have their own staff trained as AOs, or employ third parties who will undertake inspections for select overseas markets with agreed protocols, without needing to pay for a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources AO.
“Using external AOs gives the industry greater flexibility in their inspection arrangements, and reduces costs associated with the inspections of their goods for export.
“The Coalition Government is continually working in partnership with industry on expanding the number of markets that can be accessed by our exports, along with seeking to allow industry-employed AOs to inspect product.
“Recent work with protocol market countries has seen industry-employed AOs able to service markets previously restricted only to departmental AOs.
“This is another example of the government reducing unnecessary red tape, which is critical to achieve a fair return at the farmgate.”
Mr Coulton said the Coalition Government continues to work hard on achieving the best outcomes for exporters in overseas markets.
“More industry AOs will lead to more time and flexibility for horticulture exporters, which is crucial for an industry sending fresh produce across the globe, often with a short shelf life,” Mr Coulton said.
“One of the first exporters to take advantage of the new inspection arrangements last season saved about 75 per cent in costs associated with inspection alone and has been able to generate broader savings of more than $100,000 as a result of efficiencies created by refining their overall inspection, packing and transportation arrangements.
“The company exported 2½ times the cherries than last year and said it would not have been possible without the industry AOs.
“We are making exporting horticultural produce cheaper and more efficient, while still maintaining Australia’s high biosecurity standards.
“This is important to ensure an industry—with exports worth an estimated $2.060 billion in 14–15—makes the most of the Free Trade Agreements secured by the government.”
For information on authorised officers, visit http://agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ao
For information on the PASE programme, please visit http://agriculture.gov.au/export/from-australia/package-assisting-small-exporters