FROM July, the Australian government is set to trial new industry arrangements that aim to reduce biosecurity compliance costs at the border for importers.

Minister for agriculture David Littleproud said the proposal would involve the design and delivery of up to three highly compliant entities to test the ability to manage end-to-end biosecurity risks across importer supply chains.

“This will reduce regulatory intervention and associated costs for these entities and other entities who invest heavily in commercial quality assurance systems and have a good track record of biosecurity compliance,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Biosecurity underpins access to markets and trade diversification efforts for our agricultural and food exporters. It helps our agricultural industries to avoid pest and disease costs faced by many overseas growers, boosting profits and protecting Australia’s reputation as a producer of clean and green goods.”

Assistant minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said the pilots would act as proofs of concept.

“If successful, the pilots will lead to more permanent arrangements that will free up existing departmental biosecurity officer capacity to concentrate on areas of higher risk, compliance and business improvement,” Mr Morton said.

“The pilots will also help to inform priorities for other co-regulation arrangements as recommended by the Inspector-General for Biosecurity.”

Mr Morton said the measure is part of the government’s deregulation agenda and is a part of its plan to support economic recovery by making it easier for businesses to invest and create jobs.

“Modernising our regulatory practices will minimise the administrative burden on industry as biosecurity officers will not have to physically attend their sites, other than for verification and audit purposes,” Mr Morton said.

“This will save importers from having to delay movement of goods until the inspection is complete, the cost of which can reach up to $5 million per annum for some of our larger and more regular importers.”

The pilots may run simultaneously or consecutively, with the first starting on 1 July. All of the pilots are due to end by the end of this year.