Home' Grower : August 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- August 2012
Biosecurity review 'disrespectful'
BIOSECURITY: did you have your
say or did you miss the opportuni-
On July 4, Agriculture Minister Joe
Ludwig announced the start of the pub-
lic consultation process on the draft
The draft legislation has come about
after recommendations from the Beale
Report on Biosecurity and Quarantine.
More importantly, the legislation was
very old and needed updating, so the
work had to be undertaken.
Government legislators have been
working on this draft legislation for
more than two years yet the Minister
has only allowed 28 working days for
the consultation and review process.
The consultation process closes on
Some of the draft legislation was
released on July 4, a bit more on July
13 and 16, and the rest hopefully will
be out by the beginning of August.
There is more than 500 pages of legal
jargon to read, digest and comment on
in a 28-day period. Hardly appropriate
consultation but this is what we have
come to expect for all tiers of govern-
ment within Australia.
There has been a small select group of
organisations meeting with the agency
to discuss specific aspects of the pro-
posed legislation. Those involved have
been subject to a confidentiality clause.
As a result, the horticultural industry
representatives could not discuss any of
the specific issues with the 50 national
peak industry organisations. This is a
new level in government consultation.
The draft legislation has 12 chapters
covering the following topics: prelimi-
nary (introduction), human health,
goods, conveyances, ballast water, pre-
vention and control measures, approved
arrangements, emergency provisions,
compliance and enforcement, gover-
nance and officials, and miscellaneous.
Over and above this is the Inspector-
General of Biosecurity Bill and of course,
the regulations. One expects the regula-
tions to be as big and complicated as the
While all sections are important, one
that I have taken a strong interest in is
'approved arrangements'. Effectively,
those growers, packers, wholesalers and
others within the market chain who have
been importing produce from overseas
will come under the new 'approved
arrangement' situation. It looks similar
to those arrangements established by
PIRSA for interstate imports.
The process is supposedly about giving
importers more control in managing the
processes within their own businesses
and less reliance on AQIS/Biosecurity
Under the draft legislation, "a person
may apply to the relevant director for
approval of an arrangement (an industry
arrangement) that provides for the per-
son to carry out specified activities
(Biosecurity activities) to manage
Biosecurity risks associated with specific
goods, premises or other things".
Under an industry arrangement there
are obvious roles and responsibilities.
For instance, the person holding an
approved arrangement will be responsi-
ble for reporting an act, omission or
event -- a reportable biosecurity incident
-- specified in the arrangement.
The flow-on is that it is proposed that
if a relevant court is satisfied, "a person,
who is or was a biosecurity industry par-
ticipant covered by an approved arrange-
ment, failed to carr y out biosecurity
activities in accordance with the arrange-
ment or failed to comply with a condi-
tion or other requirement of the
arrangement" or "an incident (a
Biosecurity incident) occurred in rela-
tion to the operation of the approved
arrangements", the court could impose a
A "cost order" may require "the person
to pay the Commonwealth the whole, or
a part, of the costs incurred by the
Interesting to see how far such a situa-
tion might go.
One other part to this whole process is
the draft Regulation Impact Statement.
The purpose of a Consultation RIS is to
provide a document for stakeholder con-
sideration, and to elicit feedback on the
government's proposal to address the
The draft RIS was prepared by
PricewaterhouseCoopers with a release
date of June.
Industry and the community has been
offered the opportunity to have input
into the draft RIS and use that as a basis
for commenting on some options. Yet
the draft legislation has already been pre-
pared without any input from the broad-
er industry and individuals.
In his media release, Sen Ludwig said
"the government expects final bills will
be considered by a Parliamentary com-
mittee and debated in the Spring 2012
sitting of the Australian Parliament".
But given the short consultation peri-
od, it is easy to see how the broader hor-
ticultural industry and the community at
large have been treated with disrespect
by government during the process.
One can only hope the submissions
prepared and submitted by all are given
due consideration by the Government
and Government agencies.
For more information on all of the docu-
mentation on the draft Biosecurity legisla-
tion, go to www.biosecurity.govspace.gov.au.
Details: Independent horticultural consultant
Trevor M Ranford, B.Sc., Dip MP (AIMSA),
CPMgr, 0417 809 172 or email@example.com
YOUR COMMENTS: firstname.lastname@example.org
Government legislators have been working on the draft
Biosecurity Act for more than two years yet only 28 working days
have been allowed for the public consultation and review
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