Deputy Prime Minister; Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston
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, 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 government'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.
"One of the first grower/exporters to take advantage of these new inspection arrangements, Howard Hansen of Hansen Orchards in Tasmania, exported 2½ times the cherries than he did last year and said it would not have been possible without the industry AOs.
"Last season he saved about 75 per cent in costs associated with inspection alone.
"Howard achieved broader savings of more than $100,000 as a result of efficiencies he created by refining his overall inspection, packing and transportation arrangements.
"This is another example of the government reducing unnecessary red tape, which is critical to achieving a fairer return at the farmgate."
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said the 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," Minister Ruston said.
"We are making exporting horticultural produce far 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," Minister Ruston said.
For information on authorised officers, visit agriculture.gov.au/export/controlled-goods/plants-plant-products/ao.
For information on the PASE programme, please visit agriculture.gov.au/export/from-australia/package-assisting-small-exporters.