THE Australian government said it is working with a group of “highly compliant” importers to identify regulatory and commercial controls within their supply chains that could be used to manage biosecurity risk.

Minister for agriculture David Littleproud said the government was working with importers to identify and mitigate biosecurity risks early in the supply chain to help protect Australia’s agricultural producers and unique environment from harmful exotic pests and diseases.

“Four importing companies were chosen to participate in pilots following an open expression of interest process,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The companies are eager to demonstrate their ability to maintain the integrity of the biosecurity system across their supply chains.”

Mr Littleproud said the pilots will run in parallel with current biosecurity controls.

“If successful, [the pilots] will lead to reduced regulatory burden for companies with proven compliance records and strong quality assurance systems in place,” he said.

“This will lessen congestion at the border more broadly benefiting the whole agricultural supply chain and helping to drive business growth and job creation.”

A statement from Mr Littleproud’s office said recognition of good industry business systems and compliance levels will allow effort to focus on higher risk areas.

The first pilot, with Kmart was rolled out last week. Other participating importing companies include FTA Food Solutions, Becton Dickinson Australia and Stora Enso Australia.