Monday 19th Nov, 2018

INDUSTRY OPINION: Industry Associations play a vital role in representing its members

Photo: CBFCA
Photo: CBFCA

IN TODAY’S dynamic business climate where time is critical, individuals and businesses are faced with increased regulatory compliance, obligations and penalties, the need to align with the national industry Association that represents licensed customs brokers and freight forwarders has never been greater as regulators prefer to consult with industry Associations when it comes to policy matters, said Zoran Kostadinoski, Southern Region Manager at the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia Inc. (CBFCA)

Since the Customs and AusCheck Legislation Amendment (Organised Crime and Other Measures) Act 2013, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is moving towards a compliance and enforcement control structure and it will be interesting to see how DIBP will facilitate clearance of cargo across the border in the future.

Freight forwarders are faced with increased infringement notice penalties for failure to report cargo as per legislative requirements and the changes to depot licence conditions will further penalise freight forwarders in the event they breach the conditions of the depot licence.

Licensed customs brokers are faced with changes to the conditions of customs broker licences resulting in increased obligations and increased infringement notices penalties.

Further a licensed customs broker must undertake accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and achieve a total of 30 CPD. There are two CPD Streams.

  •  Stream A – that is described as the core aspects of the role of licensed customs broker including valuation, classification, origin etc. and can attain all 30 annual CPD point in this Stream.
  • Stream B –  provides for those non-core aspects of the role in which licensed customs broker engage with clients on areas of supply chain management and can attain up to 12 of the 30 annual CPD points in this Stream.

In order to licensed customs brokers to maintain their Continuing Biosecurity Competence (CBC) accreditation they also need to undertake mandatory training approved by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR)

The holder of the broker’s licence must keep accurate, auditable written records of attendance at accredited CPD and CBC training, and provide them upon request to DIBP and DAWR. Failure to meet the CPD obligations may result in DIBP suspension or cancellation of customs brokers licence and inability to operate under the DAWR broker accreditation schemes.

Based on the increased regulatory compliance, obligations, penalties and need to complete CPD and CBC training, involvement with an industry Association that represents the industry sector is important as a strong Association can make a strong point to regulatory agencies going through structural changes which results in shortage or skills and knowledge in the traditional customs and trade facilitation area.

The CBFCA is Australia’s leading Association which represents member’s interests in international trade logistics and supply chain management service provision and has been the voice for licensed customs brokers and freight forwarders in Australia providing 113 Years of Service to Industry, which is a significant milestone.

The CBFCA, as a not-for-profit Association bound by the Rules of Incorporation and By Laws, supports its members to work collectively with their clients in ensuring regulatory compliance across the supply chain. In the main member support relate to Customs, biosecurity, transport security and other taxation arrangements, all of which are subject to a continuously escalating set of regulatory compliance requirements for which CBFCA members are well prepared.

The CBFCA represents four (4) eligible membership categories:

Business member – A Business Member shall be a sole proprietor, a partnership or corporation which (principally) engages in the business of customs brokerage, international freight forwarding or similar industry related services.

Individual member – An individual member shall be a natural person who is an individual employed in a business which engages in customs brokerage, international freight forwarding or similar industry related services and holds a Customs Brokers Licence and Diploma of International Freight Forwarding.

Student member – A Student member shall be a student who is enrolled in an accredited course of education at a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) college or like equivalent who is undertaking such course of industry related study such as Diploma of Customs Broking or Diploma of International Freight Forwarding.

Affiliate member – An Affiliate member shall be an individual or business which is not eligible for membership as an individual, business or student member of the Association. Such members shall not have the right to vote in respect of Association matters, nor be entitled to membership of the Board.

One of the key aspects of CBFCA member support is advocacy with Federal and State Governments, Federal and State regulatory bodies and other non-governmental industry associations.

The key aspect of advocacy being to address member’s requirements across a broad spectrum of political, economic and social requirements.

In this regard the CBFCA has been actively involved at all levels in:

  • Policy administration
  • Agenda setting
  • Targeted political intervention
  • Process and policy solutions, and
  • Media commentary

In essence the CBFCA seeks to provide a voice for CBFCA members and industry through the mobilisation of CBFCA member resources so as to achieve better regulatory and business outcomes.

To this end the CBFCA interfaces with¸ inter alia:

  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australian Border Force
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Office of Transport Security
  • International Air Transport Association
  • International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations
  • State Port User Working Groups
  • Federal and State Ministerial staff

To support members and industry with ongoing training and professional development the CBFCA, unlike many other industry Associations is a nationally Registered Training Organisation and through its International Trade and Logistics College (ITALC) today offers nationally and/or internationally recognised training:

  • Diploma of International Freight Forwarding
  • Diploma of Customs Broking
  • Accredited Continuing Professional Development Program
  • Accredited Continuing Biosecurity Competence Training
  • Dangerous Goods
  • Regulated Air Cargo Agents
  • Department of Agriculture NCCC Accreditation and AEP Commodities accreditation

The CBFCA provides industry with guidance, training and professional development, representation, services and access to the latest policy and process information that impact on individuals and businesses.

Individuals and businesses can still have an effect on regulators without belonging to an industry Association since regulators generally understand the value of preserving the single voice, but more often, it is the collective voice that speaks the loudest and for small to medium size businesses, it is the industry Association that often serves as the best opportunity to make their voice heard.

Zoran Kostadinoski is the Southern Region Manager at the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia Inc (CBFCA).


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