Agriculture minister Joe Ludwig, yesterday announced a new system of export certification for Australian meatworks that he says will cut red-tape, support regional jobs and improve the industry’s export competitiveness.
“Australia’s meat export certification system is amongst the best in the world. All meat that leaves Australia for export markets meets strict quality and safety standards,” Mr Ludwig said in a statement.
“Export certification gives assurance to our producers and trading partners that hygiene and quarantine standards are met,” he said.
“The export meat processing sector supports more than 10,000 jobs in regional communities all over Australia. The Australian Government has been working with the sector since December 2009 to slash red tape and reduce the cost of the certification process and help Australian meatworks compete internationally.”
As foreshadowed in an article on Beef Central yesterday morning “AQIS fee breakthrough likely”, the new co-regulatory arrangement, called the Australian Export Meat Inspection System (AEMIS), will be implemented from October 1.
To support the transition to the new system the government will provide $25.8 million over three years in support as the industry returns to full cost recovery by 2013.
“The changes give businesses greater flexibility in how staff are deployed when not undertaking export inspection work, reward good performance, and focus regulatory resources on risk areas,” Mr Ludwig said.
He acknowledged the role that the Government’s Meat Processors Ministerial Task Force and the Australian Meat Industry Council had played in delivering the important changes to the sector.
“They provide for improved efficiency and competitiveness along with a continued focus on reducing the cost of operating the system,” he said.
Chairman of the ministerial task force, Gary Burridge, said AMIC would work closely with the Australian Government as the new system was implemented.
“It is in our interest to continue to work with the Government to improve the efficiency of export certification and we are pleased the minister has agreed to maintain an oversight role for the industry in both implementing the new system, but also working to drive efficiencies into the future,” Mr Burridge said in the statement.
A Memorandum of Understanding between AMIC and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry would enhance collaboration regarding international market access discussions, he said.
The legislative instruments to support the new certification system along with the new fees and charges will be tabled in the parliament in coming weeks.
If these legislative instruments are disallowed there will be no roll out of AEMIS or any ongoing support to the processing sector, the statement warned.
Mr Ludwig called on all parliamentarians to support the significant reform.
- See Beef Central's upcoming story on Nolan Meats, which has pioneered the application of the AEMIS co-regulatory arrangement in a project which had its origins back in 1996.