OVERVIEW

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					                                            VOLUME 3 – CURRENT ISSUES


                                                TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
  Overview ...................................................................................................................... 5

AGRICULTURE
HORTICULTURE AND GRAINS
  Review of Horticulture Code of Conduct ...................................................................... 11
  Wheat marketing reform............................................................................................. 12

MEAT AND LIVESTOCK
 Red Meat Advisory Council independent chair ............................................................. 16

ANIMAL WELFARE
  Animal welfare............................................................................................................ 21

OTHER
  Disaster management ................................................................................................. 25
  Agricultural and veterinary chemicals (COAG reforms) ................................................ 26
  Agricultural and veterinary chemicals (labelling) ......................................................... 27

ABARE–BRS
  ABARE–BRS publications ............................................................................................. 31
  Proposal to transfer the ABARE–BRS resources and energy function to the Department
  of Resources, Energy and Tourism ............................................................................... 32

CORPORATE
  Equine influenza claims ............................................................................................... 35
  Operating loss submissions for portfolio agencies ....................................................... 36
  Primary Industries Ministerial Council and Natural Resource Management Ministerial
  Council ........................................................................................................................ 37

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
  Australia’s Farming Future .......................................................................................... 41
  Exceptional circumstances and drought assistance programs ....................................... 42
  Pilot of drought reform measures in Western Australia ............................................... 43

FISHERIES
   Marine bioregional planning—including fishing access ................................................ 47
   Current issues on recreational fishing .......................................................................... 50
   Fisheries management issues ...................................................................................... 52
   Fisheries requirements under environmental legislation .............................................. 56

FOOD
  Food supply continuity planning .................................................................................. 61
  Food programs ............................................................................................................ 62

FORESTRY
  Asia–Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building Program ........................................... 67
  Renewal of the Regional Forest Agreements................................................................ 68
  Round three of the Forest Industries Development Fund ............................................. 69
INTERNATIONAL
  Jordan and Egypt—live animal trade ........................................................................... 73
  Trade negotiations ...................................................................................................... 74
  Russian federation—market access issues ................................................................... 76
  WTO New Zealand apples dispute ............................................................................... 77

QUARANTINE AND BIOSECURITY
 Developing biosecurity policy for imports .................................................................... 81
 Animal import risk analyses ........................................................................................ 82
 Import risk analysis for apples from the United States ................................................. 83
 Import risk analysis for stone fruit from the United States ........................................... 84
 Government response—Senate inquiry on Philippines bananas ................................... 85
 ANAO report on the importation of live animals .......................................................... 86
 Better regulation partnership with the Department of Finance and Deregulation on
 biosecurity .................................................................................................................. 87
 Biosecurity Advisory Council ....................................................................................... 88
 Biosecurity legislative changes .................................................................................... 90
 Dimethoate and fenthion ............................................................................................ 91
 Emergency arrangements ............................................................................................ 92
 Australia’s capacity to prevent or respond to a significant emergency animal disease .. 94
 Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila) .............................................................. 95
 Future post-entry quarantine arrangements ................................................................ 96
 Implementation of equine influenza inquiry recommendations ................................... 97
 Import fees and chaRges review .................................................................................. 98
 Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity ............................................................. 99
 National Residue Survey.............................................................................................100
 New biosecurity legislation ........................................................................................101
 Proposed Australian biofouling management requirements .......................................102
 Risk assessment of guava rust ....................................................................................103
 Senate inquiry—quarantine and biosecurity ...............................................................104

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
  Productivity Commission review of the rural research and development corporation
  model ........................................................................................................................107
  New and amended agricultural levies .........................................................................108
  Statutory funding agreements ....................................................................................110

SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
  Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999—Hawke
  review .......................................................................................................................114
  Caring for our Country issues ......................................................................................116

SIGNIFICANT MEETINGS AND EVENTS
  Significant meetings and events before 31 December 2010 .........................................121




                                                     CURRENT ISSUES
                                                           2
INTRODUCTION
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                            OVERVIEW
This volume highlights important matters that are likely to be the subject of public or stakeholder
interest and may require your attention in the first three months of your term.
Issues are arranged thematically by topic, and identify a suggested handling approach and any
sensitivities.
Many of the matters in this volume may be as, or more, important than those considered in the
Urgent Business volume. However, as these matters do not require urgent attention they are
included in this volume.
Each brief provides the following information:
        Issue—outlines the focus of the brief including any relevant dates and surrounding
         circumstances
        Suggested action(s)—highlights preferred option/s for addressing the issue, including
         reference to any relevant timelines and consequences if action is not undertaken
        Sensitivities—provides insight into any stakeholder concerns about the issue
        Background—provides contextual information regarding the issue, including any recent
         relevant decisions
        SES contact—phone numbers for the relevant senior manager(s) in the department.




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                                5
AGRICULTURE
HORTICULTURE AND GRAINS
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                    REVIEW OF HORTICULTURE CODE OF CONDUCT
 Key issues
        The government is yet to respond to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
         (ACCC) review of the effectiveness of the Horticulture Code of Conduct (the code). The
         review was conducted as part of the ACCC’s inquiry into the competitiveness of retail prices
         for standard groceries. The report was provided to the Australian Government on
         31 July 2008.
        The department believes changes to the code, based on ACCC recommendations, could
         improve the code’s effectiveness.
        Wholesaler and grower representative groups have asked when the government will
         respond to the review. Each group has different views on how to make the code more
         effective.


 Key facts
        The ACCC made 13 recommendations in its review.
        The Horticulture Code of Conduct Committee, comprising industry representatives,
         considered the implications of implementing 12 of the 13 recommendations. The remaining
         recommendation related to the Trade Practices Act 1974, and was considered by the then
         Assistant Treasurer. The Committee delivered its report—Implications of the ACCC
         recommendations to amend the Horticulture Code of Conduct—on 14 September 2009. The
         committee’s report was made available to the public on 1 November 2009.

Issue
The code is a mandatory code under the Trade Practices Act 1974. It commenced on 14 May 2007
and regulates trade in horticulture produce between growers and wholesale traders to encourage
greater transparency and clarity in the industry. It also introduced a dispute resolution scheme.
As part of its public inquiry into the competitiveness of retail prices for standard groceries, the ACCC
assessed the code’s effectiveness.
Responding to the review will enable the government to complete this process. The department
believes the response could be prepared and finalised early in your term as minister.
Suggested action
That you consider the government’s response to the review. The department will seek your
agreement to a response and will also prepare draft letters from you to other relevant ministers
seeking their agreement to the proposed response.
Sensitivities
The code was sought by growers but opposed by wholesalers, who believe it is biased against them
and is so restrictive as to be unworkable. Some growers would like greater flexibility in the code, but
others do not want it changed and are seeking greater enforcement of it by the ACCC. Wholesaler or
grower groups that do not obtain the outcome they have been seeking may criticise amendments.
The ACCC recommended that the code be extended to cover retailers, processors and exporters.
These groups are likely to criticise a decision to include them, but wholesalers and growers may
criticise their exclusion..**redacted**s.47Cext deleted
Mr Bob Katter MP has criticised the code since its commencement. He has previously argued that it
should be more prescriptive and cover the major retailers. In a parliamentary debate on
28 March 2007, Mr Tony Windsor MP supported a motion to disallow the code, implying that it
should cover the major retailers as promised by the Coalition in 2004.
SES contact: Allen Grant, 02 6272 5777, 0407 436 159




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               11
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                               WHEAT MARKETING REFORM
 Key issues
        The Productivity Commission provided its report on a Public Inquiry into Wheat Export
         Marketing Arrangements to government on 1 July 2010.
        The report cannot be made public until it is tabled in parliament by the Minister for
         Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, and this must occur within 15 sitting days of
         receipt by the government.
        However, the report can be tabled in the Senate at any time, including during non-sitting
         days, provided approval is obtained from the President of the Senate.


 Key facts
        The report recommends that the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme, Wheat Exports
         Australia and the Wheat Export Charge should be abolished on 30 September 2011.
        Should the government accept the report’s recommendations, legislative changes will need
         to be in place by this date. Policy approval would need to be finalised by February 2011, so
         that the legislation could be considered in the 2011 Winter sittings to allow for passage
         during the 2011 Spring sittings.

Issue
The Productivity Commission reviewed the effectiveness of marketing arrangements that followed
the deregulation of the single desk for wheat exports on 1 July 2008.
The Productivity Commission’s report recommends that the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme,
Wheat Exports Australia and the Wheat Export Charge should be abolished on 30 September 2011,
and the access test requirements for grain port terminal operators should be abolished on
30 September 2014.
The current accreditation scheme was designed to promote competition and choice in wheat
marketing. The scheme makes it possible for any trader, once accredited, to export bulk wheat from
Australia. The scheme is administered by Wheat Exports Australia, which assesses if an exporter is a
‘fit and proper’ company to operate in the Australian bulk wheat export market.
There is no prescribed deadline for the government to respond to the final report. However, industry
expects that the government will consult with them before responding to the report, and that any
changes will be implemented in time to provide certainty before planting of the 2011 crop
commences, usually around May.
Suggested action
That you note the department will provide advice on the implications of the Productivity
Commission’s recommendations and possible alternative approaches.
Sensitivities
The Productivity Commission’s draft report, publicly released on 22 March 2010, was generally well
received across the wheat industry. The recommendations in the final report remain largely
unchanged from the draft. However, sections of industry have different views on the key
recommendations.
For example, some growers and grower organisations made submissions seeking retention of the
accreditation scheme as it provides them with confidence that bulk exporters operating in the
deregulated market are reputable and are likely to be able to pay growers. Exporters believe the
accreditation scheme should be retained until 2014, to keep incentives for bulk handlers to provide
port access to rival exporters on competitive terms. Bulk handling companies feel that the cost of
meeting access test requirements exceed the benefits, and that these tests should be removed at the
same time as the accreditation scheme in 2011.



                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              12
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


The department is not aware of any comments by the Greens or independents during the election
campaign, but note that Mr Tony Windsor MP did not support implementation of the wheat reforms
in 2008 on the basis that he believed the majority of growers were not in favour of the change.
SES contact: Peter Ottesen, 02 6272 3060, 0419 732 043




                                       CURRENT ISSUES
                                            13
MEAT AND LIVESTOCK
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                RED MEAT ADVISORY COUNCIL INDEPENDENT CHAIR
 Key issues
        The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) Limited is looking to appoint an independent chair
         **redacted** s.47G.                                                                         .
         .              .RMAC is seeking to appoint Mr Ross Keane to the position.
        In accordance with the RMAC scheme’s rules, its members, through the board, have asked
         the department (acting for the Commonwealth) to approve changes to its constitution to
         enable the appointment. The department has the legal power to agree to the constitutional
         changes requested.
        The changes will require amendments to the schedules of the Red Meat Industry
         Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The peak industry councils, following consultation
         with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, can agree to changes to the
         schedules.
        On 19 July 2010 RMAC wrote to the then minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, advising of
         proposed changes to its constitution and to seek variations to the schedules. Legal advice,
         obtained by the department, states that this letter satisfies the consultation requirement.
        RMAC has publicly announced that Mr Ross Keane will be appointed as the board’s
         independent chair.


 Key facts
        RMAC was formed to act as a single point of contact for the government when dealing with
         red meat industry issues. Membership comprises the five peak red meat industry bodies.
         While Australian Government approval is required for constitutional changes, it is
         inappropriate for the government to involve itself in the routine operations of RMAC.
        The position of RMAC chair is currently shared on a rotational basis by representatives from
         the five peak red meat industry bodies. The reason for an independent chair is to have a
         board member with a casting vote, but not a deliberative vote, who is not aligned with a
         particular sector of the industry.

Issue
**redacted**s.47G
                                                                                 . The independent
chair will have a casting but not a deliberative vote.
The department has received legal advice that, under the RMAC scheme’s rules, it has the power to
agree to the constitutional changes on behalf of the government. On 19 July 2010 RMAC wrote to
Minister Burke advising of proposed changes to its constitution and to seek variations to the Red
Meat Industry MoU schedules. Legal advice obtained by the department confirmed that the letter
satisfies the MoU’s consultation requirement.
The department also sought legal advice about the implications of an independent chair, particularly
about their ability to carry out their duties as a director with limited voting rights. The department
also sought assurances from Mr Keane that he is fully aware of his responsibilities and the
uncommon nature of the proposed role.
The department considers that RMAC has given appropriate consideration to the position’s unusual
nature, and has also adequately answered the department’s queries about the level of indemnity and
insurance required for the position.
The department therefore expects to agree to the constitutional changes requested by RMAC
allowing it to begin operating under its new board structure. Pending resolution of this, RMAC has
retained Mr Keane as a ‘facilitator,’ a position identified under its current constitution.




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              16
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Suggested action
That you note the department will agree to RMAC’s request for changes to its constitution. The
department will provide you with a briefing.
Sensitivities
Mr Keane is a former director of the Brazilian-owned meat processing company Swift Australia. He
has more than 20 years experience in the red meat industry, largely in the lot-feeding and processing
sectors.
Approving the position of independent chair is likely to generate public debate about the red meat
industry structure and the legitimacy of RMAC from minority splinter groups. These groups are:
          the Australian Beef Association, which has expressed concerns in the media that Mr Keane is
           too closely aligned to the processing sector in general and Swift Australia in particular and
           criticised the former minister for making the appointment even though it is not a ministerial
           appointment
          **redacted**s.47G
                                                    .
Bindaree Beef Pty Ltd’s base is located in the federal electorate of New England, which is held by
independent Mr Tony Windsor MP. There is no record of Mr Windsor attending the forums.
It is likely the Australian Beef Association will continue attributing the decision to appoint Mr Keane
to you, or Minister Burke, particularly given the department’s role in approving the changes to
RMAC’s constitution and the consultation process required to amend the Red Meat Industry MoU.
Background
RMAC, which was formed in 1998, comprises the five peak red meat industry councils: Cattle Council
of Australia, Sheepmeat Council of Australia, Australian Lot Feeders’ Association, Australian Livestock
Exporters’ Council and Australian Meat Industry Council. The Goat Industry Council of Australia is not
a member but attends RMAC meetings as an observer. RMAC operates under an MoU between the
five industry councils, the three industry service bodies (Meat & Livestock Australia, the Australian
Livestock Export Corporation and the Australian Meat Processors Corporation) and the
Commonwealth. RMAC’s main functions are to:
        consult with the minister on industry issues
        act as custodian of the MoU and the Meat Industry Strategic Plan
        ensure responsible management of industry reserves of around $40 million consistent with
         an industry–government agreement
        provide a forum for prevention or resolution of conflict across industry sectors or companies.
SES contact: Simon Murnane, 02 6272 5413, 0408 482 065




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               17
ANIMAL WELFARE
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                       ANIMAL WELFARE
 Key issues
        The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) is a national policy for improving welfare
         outcomes in animal-use sectors.
        The department is consulting with the states and territories and key stakeholders on
         changes to the AAWS to improve its management and delivery.
        Once this has been completed, you will be asked to consider a range of reforms, including
         the proposal to amalgamate the National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare and
         the AAWS Advisory Committee into a new Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.


 Key facts
        The Australian Government provides leadership, coordination and approximately $1 million
         each year to support national activities associated with the AAWS.
        The slaughter of animals without prior stunning is permitted for religious needs.
        The industry was worth more than $996.5 million in 2009.

Issues
Australian Animal Welfare Strategy
The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) is a national policy for improving welfare outcomes
in animal-use sectors.
The department is consulting the states and territories and key stakeholders on collaborative ways of
improving the strategy’s implementation. Proposed changes will increase the emphasis on business
planning; target funding of priority activities; and seek more funding from the states and territories.
Un-stunned slaughter
Following a review of the associated risks, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) asked
that Australian and Victorian government officials work with key stakeholders on measures to
improve the welfare of animals whose slaughter is permitted without prior stunning. Consultations
underway involve peak Jewish and Islamic groups, the RSPCA, the Australian Meat Industry Council,
the states and territories and AQIS (as the regulator of export-accredited abattoirs
        **redacted**s.47C                                                                   .
Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock
The Live Export Standards Advisory Group—which includes industry, welfare groups and AQIS—will
make recommendations to you on amendments to the standards to reflect changing industry
practices and community expectations about the live export trade; in particular, that the standards
align with national welfare standards for transporting livestock. Given the shared legal
responsibilities with the states and territories along the export chain, the revised standards will be
sent to PIMC for national endorsement.
Suggested action
That you note the department will advise you on a range of animal welfare issues. You will also be
asked to consider the PIMC paper on future requirements for regulating un-stunned slaughter.
Sensitivities
While Islamic authorities have so far accepted pre-stunned slaughtering, Jewish leaders have advised
that, under certain conditions, this is not acceptable for kosher meat. The RSPCA continues to be
vocal on animal welfare matters relating to the live export trade. The Greens’ policy is to end the
export of live animals for consumption.
SES contact: Simon Murnane, 02 6272 5413, 0408 482 065




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               21
OTHER
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                   DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Key issues
       The Australian Government has mechanisms to assist primary producers dealing with natural
        disasters.
       On 5 September 2010 the caretaker government activated Natural Disaster Relief and
        Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) assistance in response to the Victorian floods. Personal
        hardship grants and emergency grants will be made available to eligible recipients.
       Natural disaster assistance is provided in response to events such as floods, fires and storms.
       Agricultural industries can be affected by disaster events to varying degrees.


Key facts
       The department monitors the impact of disaster events on agricultural, fisheries and forestry
        sectors and contributes to whole-of-government responses where appropriate. However, the
        department’s programs have a limited direct role in disaster matters.
       Reports suggest that the September Victorian floods have left hundreds of farms
        waterlogged and, as at 6 September 2010, the extent of the damage is not known.
        The department expects that the floods have forced farmers to move stock to higher ground,
        will prevent dairy herds from being milked until the water subsides, and will damage some
        crops. Exceptional circumstance (EC) assistance is separate to the disaster relief and recovery
        arrangements. EC drought declarations are currently in place for approximately 63 per cent
        of agricultural land in Victoria, including much of the flood affected areas.

Issue
Natural disaster management is constitutionally a state and territory responsibility. Through the
longstanding NDRRA, the Australian Government (through the Attorney–General’s portfolio) helps to
facilitate the early provision of assistance to disaster affected communities and alleviate the financial
burden on state and territory governments.
Emergency relief grants jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments have been
activated for those affected by the Victorian floods. Means-tested hardship grants of up to $26 000
are available to those whose homes have suffered significant structural damage, loss of contents and
for extended temporary accommodation. Those prevented from returning home and needing basic
financial assistance will be eligible for grants of up to $1067.
The department’s main role is to provide advice to government on the impacts of a disaster on the
agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors and to participate in the whole-of-government recovery
response. However, the department’s Rural Financial Counselling Service can and does assist farmers
in disaster affected areas.
EC assistance is the Australian Government’s main mechanism for providing assistance to severely
drought-affected eligible farmers and small business operators. EC is not triggered in the event of a
disaster covered by the NDRRA. However, where EC declarations are in place in areas that are also
affected by a natural disaster, eligible farm enterprises can draw on available EC assistance.
Suggested action
That you note this information. The department will provide further briefing on the Victorian floods
as appropriate.
SES contact: Peter Ottesen, 02 6272 3060, 0419 732 043




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               25
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY CHEMICALS (COAG REFORMS)
 Key issues
        COAG directed the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) to develop a single,
         national scheme to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural and veterinary
         (agvet) chemicals regulation (see Volume 4, Significant Portfolio Priorities: ‘Agvet
         chemicals’).
        There are several options for delivering the new scheme, each of which will have
         management and funding implications for the Australian Government.
        Before agreeing to a preferred model and funding arrangements, a whole of Australian
         Government position will need to be agreed.

Issue
A COAG Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on a single, national scheme will be released
in November 2010 for a two-month period of stakeholder consultation. It will set out possible
regulatory models as well as delivery and funding options for each model.
The models will cover chemical assessment and registration, which is currently undertaken by the
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), and regulations controlling the
use of chemicals, currently a state and territory responsibility. PIMC agreed to submit a preferred
regulatory model to COAG by June 2011.
Suggested action
That you note that in order to meet the June 2011 deadline and to allow time for endorsement
through PIMC, a whole of Australian Government position will need to be agreed by the end of 2010.
Sensitivities
The new framework will address concerns stakeholders have with the current arrangements
including:
       inefficiencies in the assessment process, such as problems with timelines, transparency and
        consistency (a concern of chemical manufacturers)
       inefficiencies resulting from differences between state and territory arrangements for
        control-of-use regulations (chemical manufactures and users)
       difficulties in accessing chemical products for minor uses, that is, for uses where full
        assessment and registration of products might not be commercially viable (chemical users)
       residues in food (community interest groups)
       off-site health and environmental effects of agvet chemical use, particularly those caused by
        spray drift incidents (community interest groups).
The Greens have indicated they support funding for alternatives to agvet chemicals and would
like some chemicals banned in an effort to protect the Great Barrier Reef. It is possible they may seek
to do this through reforms to APVMA approaches. This item was included in the agreement between
the government and the independent members for Lyne and New England.
Background
Possible options for delivering the new national scheme include:
        states and territories could confer their control-of-use powers on the Australian
         Government, with responsibility for assessing and registering chemicals and for control-of-
         use regulation resting with either a single, national regulatory authority or two separate
         authorities
        state and territory control-of-use regulations could be harmonised, with responsibility for the
         assessment and registration of agvet chemicals remaining with the Australian Government.
A separate proposal to reform the APVMA is expected to be considered by the government in
September 2010 (see Volume 2, Urgent Business: ‘Reform of the APVMA’). The review’s outcomes
will be incorporated into the preferred model provided to COAG.
SES contact: Greg Williamson, 02 6272 5014, 0434 735 453


                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               26
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


             AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY CHEMICALS (LABELLING)
 Key issue
        As part of a COAG reform to harmonise occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation,
         Safe Work Australia proposed removing a longstanding recognition that a defined-use, risk-
         based approach for labelling agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals is sufficient to
         meet OHS requirements. This would involve placing additional hazard information on labels,
         which might not reflect the actual hazards associated with the use of the chemical and could
         increase costs for industry and government.


 Key facts
        The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) sets instructions for
         the use of agvet chemicals based on a comprehensive risk-based approach that draws on
         advice from the Office of Chemical Safety.
        The APVMA is required under legislation to ensure worker safety when registering
         chemicals.
        A reform package has been developed for the APVMA (see Volume 4, Significant Portfolio
         Priorities: ‘Agvet chemicals’).

Issue
As part of a COAG reform to harmonise OHS legislation, Safe Work Australia proposed to the
Workplace Relations Ministerial Council that a longstanding defined-use, risk-based approach for
labelling agvet chemicals be removed. The proposed new policy would require additional hazard
information on agvet labels, regardless of the defined-use or handling instructions prescribed by the
APVMA. Such a requirement would be in addition to current procedures that require information on
all hazards to be made available to workers through a material safety data sheet, which lists hazards
and safety instructions separately from the label.
The APVMA prescribes defined-use instructions to eliminate or mitigate chemical hazard risks. This
means all agvet chemicals are to be used or handled in accordance with the label and as required by
state and territory law.
This department, the Department of Health and Ageing and industry bodies are concerned that, if
implemented, the proposed policy would add unnecessary cost to agvet chemicals through having to
alter more than 30 000 product labels. This process would require reconsidering all the hazards
associated with each agvet chemical, independent of use and against yet-to-be-defined criteria. The
APVMA may have to undertake this work, with the cost recovered from industry. The proposal could
also undermine confidence in the safety of already-approved chemicals.
The department is working through the Standing Committee on Chemicals under COAG to bring
these concerns to the attention of OHS regulators.
Suggested action
That you note that the Australian Government will need to develop a final position before the
release of the draft regulations in November 2010.
Sensitivities
An Australian Government position is yet to be determined. Safe Work Australia is an independent
agency reporting to the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
This item was included in the agreement between the government and the independent members
for Lyne and New England.
SES contact: Greg Williamson, 02 6272 5014, 0434 735 453




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              27
ABARE–BRS
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                  ABARE–BRS PUBLICATIONS
 Key issues
        ABARE–BRS has a schedule of regularly released statistical and forecasting publications.
        These publications are released on pre-announced dates and under strict embargo to
         ensure that no single individual can gain advantage from earlier access to potentially
         market-sensitive information.
        ABARE–BRS also releases a number of other reports based on its research activities.


 Key facts
        ABARE–BRS releases a large range of publications each year covering data, commodity
         analysis, climate updates and research. These are cleared internally by ABARE–BRS, and
         your office is advised prior to publication.
        Australian commodities is ABARE–BRS’s quarterly commodity forecasting publication. The
         ‘year ahead’ forecasts contained in Australian commodities are used by industry,
         government and input suppliers to evaluate future directions for Australia’s major
         commodities. The next Australian commodities will be released on 21 September 2010.
        The Australian crop report is ABARE–BRS’s quarterly crop forecasting report. The report
         contains estimates of crop areas, production and yields for Australia’s major winter and
         summer field crops. A summary of seasonal conditions is also included. The next Australian
         crop report will be released on 15 September 2010.
        Fishery status reports provides governments, industry and the community with an
         independent overview of trends in the biological status of Commonwealth managed fish
         stocks and the economic status of these fisheries. The Fishery status reports 2009 will be
         released in September 2010.

Issue
ABARE–BRS advice is provided through publications and reports, most of which are made public by
the bureau. Your office will be advised before their public release. Other than the publications listed
above, the following will be released between October 2010 and January 2011:
  Financial performance of irrigation farms in the Murray–Darling Basin, 2006–07 and 2007–08
  Environmentally sustainable diversion limits in the Murray–Darling Basin: Socioeconomic analysis
  A scientific perspective on the management of forests and other vegetation as carbon sinks
  End use energy intensity in the Australian economy
  Commodity note—Australian woodchip markets
  Indonesia landuse and landuse change policy design
  Australian forest and wood products statistics
  Electricity generation major developments list—October listing
  Minerals and energy major developments list—October listing
  Australian commodity statistics
  An economic survey of irrigation farms in the Murray–Darling Basin: Industry overview and region
  profiles, 2008–09.
Suggested action
For information only. Advice will be provided to your office before the public release of all
publications.
Sensitivities
The publications attract considerable media coverage during the year and are keenly awaited by the
media and industry analysts.
SES contact: Paul Morris, 02 6272 4636, 0408 481 482


                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               31
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


       PROPOSAL TO TRANSFER THE ABARE–BRS RESOURCES AND ENERGY
     FUNCTION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF RESOURCES, ENERGY AND TOURISM
 Key issues
     The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET) currently obtains analytical and
      statistical services on resources and energy (R&E) from ABARE–BRS under a memorandum of
      understanding.
     To improve the effective provision of these services and their alignment with RET portfolio
      priorities, RET has proposed that the ABARE–BRS R&E function be transferred to RET.
     The department (including ABARE–BRS) considers that the proposed transfer poses high risks to
      the Australian Government’s commodity analysis capability, which needs to be managed.
     A risk assessment is currently being prepared and ministers’ decision will be sought.


 Key facts
     A paper discussing the strengths and weaknesses of three options—status quo, full transfer of
      the function to RET, and collocation of the function with RET (but managed by ABARE–BRS)—
      has been prepared by a joint working group and provided to the secretaries of this department
      and RET. The working group could not agree on a preferred option.
     The secretaries agreed that ABARE–BRS and RET should draft an implementation plan for the
      full transfer of the function to RET, including a risk assessment, risk management plan and
      timetable. This will provide the basis for a final decision by ministers on whether to proceed.

Issue
RET considers that integrating the ABARE–BRS R&E function into RET will improve that department’s
R&E policy work and that these benefits outweigh the risks associated with integration, which it aims
to mitigate through a range of strategies. RET currently funds the R&E function in ABARE–BRS.
Under ABARE–BRS the R&E commodity analysis function is widely recognised as strong and
professionally independent, and this department is concerned that such a reputation may be difficult
to re-establish in a smaller group within a division of RET. There are considerable efficiencies in
forecasting both farm and R&E commodities.
To assist with a final decision, a RET – ABARE–BRS working group has been formed to advise the
secretaries of each department.
Suggested action
Further briefing will be provided to you on completion of the risk management and implementation
plans. You may wish to discuss this matter with the Minister for Resources and Energy at this time.
Sensitivities
Both RET and ABARE–BRS have numerous stakeholders across government, industry and the general
community who may have different perspectives on the proposed transfer.
SES contact: Jane Melanie, 02 6272 2349, 0447 261 663




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               32
CORPORATE
                   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                  EQUINE INFLUENZA CLAIMS
 Key issues
        Two civil claims for compensation relating to the 2007 equine influenza (EI) outbreak have
         been filed against the Commonwealth.
        Any public comments about the civil claims and state of the quarantine system can and may
         be used against the Commonwealth in court.


 Key facts
        The plaintiffs are Clasul Pty Ltd (Clasul) and Livestock Transport Sydney Pty Ltd (LTG).
        The Clasul claim is for $3 million for negligence, plus interests and costs.
        The LTG claim has not been quantified;**redacted**s.42                                   .
         .                                                                          .
        There are approximately 600 potential claims awaiting the outcome of the Clasul and LTG
         claims.

Issue
Two civil claims for compensation relating to the 2007 EI outbreak have been filed against the
Commonwealth.**redacted**s.42
                  It is too early to form a reliable view on the Commonwealth’s prospects of success in
either claim; however, both claims are considered to be ideal test cases as they raise important
factual and legal considerations. The cases are not expected to go to trial before late 2011.
All legal claims are being managed by Comcover, the Australian Government’s insurer, in partnership
with the Department of Finance and Deregulation and this department. The Solicitor-General has
also been consulted.
Anyone who makes statements about the claims or quarantine system, including yourself, may be
called to give evidence about the content and purpose of such statements.
Suggested action
That you note that two civil claims have been filed against the Commonwealth and that it would be
inappropriate for the government to publicly comment on these.
Sensitivities
It is likely that there will be significant media interest in the proceedings, especially since the
Commonwealth has filed its defence in each claim.
SES contact: Bill Withers, 02 6272 4411, 0434 651 602




                                            CURRENT ISSUES
                                                 35
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


             OPERATING LOSS SUBMISSIONS FOR PORTFOLIO AGENCIES
 Key issues
        In July 2010 the then minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, wrote to the then finance minister,
         the Hon. Lindsay Tanner MP, seeking approval for the following agencies to record
         operating losses:
             Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)
             Sugar Research and Development Corporation (SRDC)
             Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).
        A reply from the finance minister is yet to be received.


 Key facts
        As portfolio minister, you are required to seek the finance minister’s approval for agencies
         within the portfolio to record an operating loss.
        RIRDC has sought approval for an operating loss of $6.256 million in 2010–11.
        SRDC has sought approval for operating losses of $1.278 million in 2010–11, $0.793 million
         in 2011–12 and $0.377 million in 2012–13.
        AFMA has sought approval for an operating loss of $1.070 million in 2010–11, in addition to
         its previously approved loss of $1.536 million (total $2.606 million).

Issue
Three portfolio agencies have sought approval to record an operating loss.
      The RIRDC loss is to enable the drawdown of cash reserves to undertake a number of specific
       board-approved projects.
      The SRDC loss is to enable the drawdown of cash reserves to address industry research
       priorities through strategic projects with allied sugar industry research and stakeholder
       agencies. The use of cash reserves has been approved by the SRDC board.
      The AFMA loss is to enable the drawdown of funds from the National Fisheries Adjustment
       Program to support the buyback of fishing concessions in the Torres Strait Tropical Rock
       Lobster Fishery.
Suggested action
Nil. The Department of Finance and Deregulation has advised that there will be a consolidated
operating loss round after the election. The application by the previous minister to record an
operating loss for these agencies was put on hold during the caretaker period. It should not be
necessary to reapply.
Background
The research and development corporations (RDCs) derive around half their income from a levy on
the gross value of production (GVP) of the applicable industry, which is then matched by the
government up to a cap of 0.5 per cent of GVP. Income from levies often fluctuates according to
production levels and/or commodity prices. The RDCs use their financial reserves as part of their
budgeting process to maintain relatively stable levels of research and development effort from year
to year by drawing on revenue earned in some years to supplement lower revenue in other years.
There have been several loss applications in the past two years from RDCs seeking to draw on cash
reserves because of reductions in levy incomes from the impact of the drought on production
volumes.
SES contact: Darren Schaeffer, 02 6272 4398, 0408 228 102




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              36
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                PRIMARY INDUSTRIES MINISTERIAL COUNCIL AND
             NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT MINISTERIAL COUNCIL
 Key issues
        Given you are the chair of the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) and the co-chair
         of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC), confirmation is needed
         on whether both meetings will proceed as scheduled on 4–5 November 2010, in Sydney.


 Key facts
        Following COAG’s decision to effect fundamental reform to the ministerial council system,
         all existing councils are scheduled to be wound up and a new structure in place by
         March 2011.
        COAG’s transition working group is developing a position on the proposed new
         COAG ministerial council structure and plans to seek approval from COAG by the end of
         2010.

Issue
PIMC and NRMMC meetings are scheduled to be held on 4–5 November 2010. The meetings are the
primary mechanism for coordinating with and progressing matters of national significance with your
state and territory colleagues.
The implications of the COAG reform of ministerial councils are currently unclear, particularly on
whether PIMC will continue in some form. This should be clearer by the end of the year.
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is leading a Commonwealth/state/territory
transition working group, which plans to put recommendations to COAG later in the year on the new
ministerial council structure. The department has advocated to the transition working group that a
ministerial council be established to drive key reforms in biosecurity, food production and climate
change adaptation in the agricultural and resources industries.
Regardless of the outcome of COAG’s consideration, PIMC and NRMMC will need to decide how to
wrap up existing business to allow any future council (or other mechanism of ministers meeting
outside of COAG) to focus on key reform-based issues of national significance.
Suggested action
It is recommended that you agree to convene the PIMC and NRMMC meetings on
4–5 November 2010, at which you can discuss with ministers key reform issues, the proposed new
structure to manage those issues and transition arrangements.
Background
After an independent review of ministerial councils by Dr Allan Hawke, in April 2010 COAG
announced the reform of ministerial councils. This reform will see current ministerial councils
rationalised to 11 or fewer standing councils overseeing key areas of ongoing importance to both the
Australian Government and the states and territories. These areas were identified as federal financial
relations, Attorneys-General, health, infrastructure, education, community services, skills, and police
and emergency services. Dr Hawke also recommended up to three additional standing councils be
established, of which primary industries was a potential candidate.
SES contact: Cathrine Stephenson, 02 6272 4886, 0409 741 101




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               37
DROUGHT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                             AUSTRALIA’S FARMING FUTURE
 Key issues
        Your approval will be sought to reallocate approximately $5 million of underspends in the
         Australia’s Farming Future Climate Change Adjustment Program to other Australia’s Farming
         Future programs.
        Your approval will also be sought to conduct a third round of the Community Networks and
         Capacity Building grants program.
        Policy announcements for the Better Regulation of Chemicals and the Northern Australia
         Sustainable Futures programs will see $1.75 million reallocated from Australia’s Farming
         Future.


 Key facts
        Australia’s Farming Future is the government’s climate change initiative for primary
         industries. It provides around $130 million in funding from 2008–09 to 2011–12 for
         research, training and support.

Issue
You will be provided with briefings early in your term concerning:
       an underspend for Australia’s Farming Future’s Climate Change Adjustment Program
       Minister Burke’s proposed reallocation of $5 million from the Climate Change Adjustment
        Program to a new program that funds farmers to demonstrate practices that sequester
        carbon (soil carbon) ($4.35 million) and to the Rural Financial Counselling Service to expand
        its scope to provide services to people associated with the forestry industry ($650 000)
       approval to conduct a third round of the Community Networks and Capacity Building
        program—Recognising Women Farmers and Next Gen Farmers grants
       the reallocation of $1.25 million to the new Better Regulation of Chemicals program from the
        Climate Change Adjustment Program—Re-establishment Grants, which will now cease one
        year early in 2011 as per the election commitment
       the reallocation of $0.5 million to the Northern Australia Sustainable Futures Program from
        an as yet unspecified program within Australia’s Farming Future.
Suggested action
That you consider proposals to reallocate Australia’s Farming Future funds and conduct another
round of the Community Networks and Capacity Building program. The department will provide
further detailed briefing.
Sensitivities
There may be sensitivity around the government funding farmers to sequester carbon at the same
time as providing a voluntary carbon market for carbon sequestration. Consideration would need to
be given to whether farmers funded under this program would still be eligible to participate in the
voluntary market and receive offset credits.
Background
Before the election was called, Minister Burke requested further advice on the reallocation of
approximately $5 million from the Climate Change Adjustment Program to a soil carbon program
under the Climate Change Research Program. The proposed soil carbon program differs from the
existing soil carbon program under Australia’s Farming Future. The new program moves beyond
measurement of soil carbon and creating a nationally consistent methodology for data sampling to
demonstrating practices that can be implemented on-farm to increase soil carbon sequestration.
SES contact: David Mortimer, 02 6272 5781, 0419 403 518




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              41
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


   EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND DROUGHT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
 Key issues
        There are six Exceptional Circumstance (EC) issues that you will be asked to consider in the
         next two months, including whether to extend or cease three EC declarations in Queensland
         and finalise a National Partnership Agreement with the states and territories so that EC
         interest rate subsidy (ECIRS) payments continue.
         .**redacted**s.34              Text deleted                                                .
                   Text deleted                                                                      .
         .         Text deleted                                                                      .
         .         Text deleted                                                                      .


 Key facts
        Although severe drought conditions have eased in some parts of the country, around
         26 per cent of Australia’s agricultural land remains EC declared.
        As at July 2010, there were around 11 000 farming families receiving EC assistance out of a
         total of some 136 000 agricultural businesses Australia–wide (having an estimated value of
         production of more than $5000).
Issues
Issue 1: EC declarations for three Queensland areas will cease on 15 December 2010. The National
         Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) will provide advice on whether any extensions are
         warranted. It is desirable that a decision be announced in early November 2010.
Issue 2: Payments to the states and territories for the delivery of the interest rate subsidy are made
         under the Rural Adjustment Act 1992. The related intergovernmental agreement on rural
         adjustment expires on 31 December 2010. A National Partnership Agreement must be in
         place by 31 December to replace the current agreement.
Issue 3: **redacted**s.34

                                                                                                  .
Issue 4: Some EC and drought assistance measures are scheduled to expire on 30 June 2011
         **redacted**s.34

Issue 5: You are required to table the NRAC annual report within 15 sitting days after receiving the
         report. The NRAC chairperson is required to prepare and submit NRAC’s annual report to
         you ‘as soon as practicable after 30 June in each year’. It has not yet been received.
Issue 6: The existing exit grant and advice and training programs are duplicative and you may wish
         to consider the benefits of streamlining and simplifying these programs.
Suggested action
That you note that these six issues will require consideration in the coming months. The department
will provide separate, and specific, advice on each issue.
Sensitivities
Minister Burke committed to maintaining the current drought assistance measures for those still
affected by drought.**redacted**s.34
                                      .
Background
Drought reform measures are currently being trialled in Western Australia. However, EC assistance
remains the government’s main mechanism for providing drought assistance until a new drought
policy and measures are agreed and implemented.
SES contact: Andrew McDonald, 02 6272 5780, 0417 667 363


                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              42
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         PILOT OF DROUGHT REFORM MEASURES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
 Key issues
        There could be pressure to extend the pilot beyond 30 June 2011, pre-empting the review
         due by November 2011. You will need to decide by the end of October 2010 whether to
         submit a 2011–12 budget proposal to extend assistance measures in the pilot region while
         the review is conducted and completed.
        You will need to decide on Stronger Rural Communities grant applications in early
         November 2010. With limited funding of $900 000, few grants are likely to be awarded.


 Key facts
        The pilot and the trial assistance measures in the pilot region end on 30 June 2011.
         The review of the pilot will be completed by November 2011.
        Terms of reference for the review of the pilot have been agreed by the Australian and
         Western Australian governments and could be publicly released once stakeholder
         engagement processes are settled.
        Stronger Rural Communities grant applications close on 15 September 2010. Successful
         applicants will have until 30 June 2011 to complete projects.

Issue
The government agreed to consider the review’s outcomes in the 2012–13 budget process to inform
the design of national assistance programs for farmers, farm families and rural communities. This
leaves a 12–month gap between the end of the pilot, its assistance measures and any national
reform. You could submit a budget proposal to extend all or some of the pilot assistance measures
while the review is being completed. However, in light of the government’s requirement to find
offsetting savings for new spending, any proposals will require careful thought on funding strategies.
Note that funding will also need to be sought for Exceptional Circumstances arrangements and other
drought assistance measures.
A decision on Stronger Rural Communities grant applications is needed by the end of November 2010
to allow time for projects to be completed before the end of the pilot. The National Rural Advisory
Council will assess applications and provide recommendations to you early in November 2010.
State governments, farming organisations and other stakeholders have a keen interest in the review.
Arrangements for stakeholder input should be settled before the terms of reference are made public.
Suggested action
That you:
      consider options the department will provide in the 2011–12 budget process to deal with the
       gap between the end of the pilot and consideration of national reform
      consider options for stakeholder engagement in the review by November 2010, including an
       informal consultative committee and/or calls for public submissions. Once a process is
       settled, the terms of reference could be made public and a tender process conducted to
       appoint a consultant to undertake the review
      decide on grant applications for Stronger Rural Communities.
Sensitivities
Pilot participants, especially those on Farm Family Support (income support for those in hardship),
are likely to raise concerns about the pilot measures ending on 30 June 2011. During the review of
the pilot, stakeholders are likely to seek evidence of the merits of the reform measures and the
outcomes achieved. This will be challenging in the 12–month pilot period. Successful Stronger Rural
Communities grant recipients will have a relatively short time to complete their projects before
30 June 2011. Given the limited funding, only a small number of grants are likely to be awarded.
SES contact: Stewart Noble, 02 6272 4598, 0458 202 295

                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              43
FISHERIES
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         MARINE BIOREGIONAL PLANNING—INCLUDING FISHING ACCESS
 Key issues
        The Minister for Environment Protection and the Arts has responsibility for marine
         bioregional planning under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
         1999 (EPBC Act).
        The fishing industry and recreational fishing sector have been critical of the lack of effective
         consultation during the marine bioregional planning process.
        Fishers are concerned about the expansion of marine reserves and no-take areas; the
         subsequent impacts on domestic production; and compensation for lost access.


 Key facts
        In 2008 the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) began
         the marine bioregional planning process in four regions—the south-west, the north, the
         north-west and the east (which is also their expected order of completion). The bioregional
         plans will identify the conservation priorities in Commonwealth waters, as well as
         measures—including marine reserves—to protect them.
        Marine bioregional planning is a staged process for implementing marine reserves in
         Commonwealth waters. Marine reserves in Australia currently cover around 88 million
         hectares, or 10 per cent of our exclusive economic zone. This compares favourably with the
         conservation areas on land, which includes around 9000 protected areas covering about
         11 per cent of the country.
        The critical stages of the planning process are identifying areas for further assessment and
         releasing draft marine bioregional plans where they would be exposed to formal public
         comment.
        The government has yet to finalise its policy for displaced activities.

Issue
The fishing industry and recreational fishing sector have criticised the lack of effective consultation
and the absence of opportunities to provide information on specific fisheries impacts. DEWHA is
developing a draft displaced activities policy in consultation with other agencies to cover
compensation for reduced fishing rights. The industry has expressed annoyance at not having seen
the policy or being consulted on its development. Government is yet to consider the draft policy.
The department has recently discussed with DEWHA approaches to improving industry stakeholder
engagement, including ways to obtain agreed and more detailed information on the potential
consequences of a draft network of marine reserve areas, and the potential economic impacts and
compensation amounts.
Suggested action
**redacted**s.47C




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               47
                   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Sensitivities
The issue of marine reserves has attracted considerable media attention in many coastal and fishing
communities. The commercial and recreational fishing sectors are concerned about increasing
no-take areas in the proposed marine reserves; the impacts on domestic seafood production; and
compensation for the loss of access to fishing grounds. They have been particularly critical of the lack
of effective consultation, and some are seeking compensation for the loss of access and/or income
resulting from fishing closures. The Greens have proposed legislated minimums of 30 per cent
‘no-take’ areas in each bioregion by 2012.
.**redacted**s.47C




There would also be significant funding implications if responsibility for any compensation payments
extended to the department.
Background
Commitment to a national system of marine protected areas was made in Australia’s Ocean Policy in
1998 by a previous Coalition government. The intention was first announced and subsequently
reflected in Australia’s agreement to the 2002 Convention on Biological Diversity.
Marine protected areas are widely regarded, both nationally and internationally, as an effective way
of protecting biodiversity by maintaining ecosystem connectivity and functions; protecting
representative species; supporting fish populations and productivity; and improving the resilience of
ecosystems to environmental disturbances and climate change. The first marine reserves in
Commonwealth waters were established in 2007.
Commercial fishers see three main problems with creating marine reserves:
    1. entitlements could be modified or extinguished to prevent overfishing resulting from the
        displacement of fishing effort (creating a marine reserve, for example, may result in a
        fishery’s total allowable catch being reduced, with corresponding reductions to individual
        transferrable quotas)
    2. reduced catches as a result of being unable to access preferred fishing grounds
    3. additional costs because of the need to use alternative fishing grounds, or target other
        species of fish.
Bioregional plans in all regions were originally scheduled for release in 2010, with the aim of
declaring all marine reserves by 2012. DEWHA has since advised that the timelines for completing
the draft and final plans will be extended and include additional opportunities for stakeholders to
contribute. Table 1 lists the revised timeframes, as at March 2010.
Table 1. Revised timeframes completing bioregional plans—March 2010
      Region             Areas for further          Draft bioregional plan    Final bioregional
                       assessment released                                           plan
   South-west               May 2009               August/September 2010         Early 2011
   North-west            September 2009                 October 2010             Early 2011
      North              November 2009                  October 2010             Early 2011
       East                March 2010                     Early 2011              Mid 2011

The total area for further assessment under consideration is 3 278 093 square kilometres. Areas for
further assessment are not marine protected areas; rather, they are areas within which networks of
multiple-use and no-take marine reserves may be declared.




                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                48
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


ABARE–BRS has been contracted by DEWHA to provide gross value of production assessments of
commercial fishing potentially displaced by the proposed Marine Protected Area Network. The
assessments will not be able to determine whether closures would make fisheries unviable. They are
part of a range of information DEWHA has been using to determine where to place and how to zone
draft marine reserves.
SES contact: Ian Thompson, 02 6272 4623, 0417 663 892




                                        CURRENT ISSUES
                                             49
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                     CURRENT ISSUES ON RECREATIONAL FISHING
 Key issues
        The Recreational Fishing Industry Development Strategy (RFIDS) is a three-year $2 million
         initiative (2008–09 to 2010–11) that aims to help Australia’s recreational fishing industry
         improve recreational fishing opportunities and ensure the long-term sustainable
         management of Australia’s marine and freshwater fisheries resources. As the RFIDS is a
         national strategy, the agreement of all states and territories, the Australian Government and
         other relevant parties will be sought before any new policy is formulated.
        The Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (RFAC) was appointed in February 2009, as a
         non-statutory advisory body. Its initial role was to review the 1994 National Recreational
         Fishing Policy, advise on issues affecting the recreational fishing industry and develop ways
         to support the industry in the future.
        In response to requests from the recreational fishing sector, the then minister, the
         Hon. Tony Burke MP, announced on 1 July 2010 the creation of a Recreational Fishing
         Roundtable to facilitate communication between the recreational fishing sector and the
         Australian Government.
        The Australian Government remains under pressure from the states and territories and the
         recreational and game fishing sectors to progress formal resource sharing arrangements
         with the commercial sector for a number of Commonwealth fisheries. The department has
         committed to developing options for resource sharing in the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery.


 Key facts
        Regulation of recreational fishing is the responsibility of the states and territories.
        RFAC has completed its review of the 1994 policy and issued a discussion paper on
         31 March 2010 for a revised policy framework. Submissions on the paper will be considered
         at the next RFAC meeting in September 2010.
        On 16 July 2010 Minister Burke approved funding for a further seven projects under the
         RFIDS. These projects are to be administered by the Fisheries Research and Development
         Corporation (FRDC) through an agreement with the department.

Issues
Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (RFAC)
The RFAC:
        provides coordinated advice to government on the development of the recreational fishing
         sector
        works with the FRDC and other research/grant providers to implement initiatives for
         sustainable recreational fishing
        considers options for improved and ongoing consultation and interaction between the
         recreational sector and government.
RFAC consists of 11 ministerially appointed members from the recreational fishing sector. The
committee met five times in 2009 and 2010, visiting all states and territories to meet with fishery
representatives, industry, government and other stakeholders to seek input on a national policy and
industry development strategy paper. On 31 March 2010 the RFAC discussion paper, Recreational
Fishing in Australia 2010 and Beyond, was released. Submissions to the paper were sought and were
considered at the RFAC meeting on 7–8 September 2010 in Canberra.
RFAC also provides advice on strategic investment in the recreational fishing sector. Minister Burke
recently approved a further seven RFAC recommended projects, to be funded through the RFIDS. An
eighth project, to develop a national recreational fishing data collection, was previously approved
and announced.



                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              50
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Recreational Fishing Industry Development Strategy (RFIDS)
The RFIDS initiative commenced in 2008 as part of the government’s Plan for Sustainable Fisheries.
The RFIDS includes $2 million over three years (2008–09 to 2010–11) to assist the recreational fishing
industry and to improve Australian recreational fishing. As the RFIDS is a national strategy, the
agreement of all states and territories, the Australian Government and other relevant parties will be
sought before any new policy is formulated. $200 000 remains uncontracted and is potentially
available for you to allocate.
Recreational Fishing Roundtable
On 22 June 2010, Minister Burke announced the formation of the Recreational Fishing Roundtable to
discuss emerging issues in the industry and provide a mechanism for improving communication
between the recreational fishing sector and the Australian Government. The roundtable meetings
provide a high-level forum for the government and leaders from the recreational fishing sector to
consider issues facing the sector. It is expected to meet quarterly, following its first meeting on
19 July 2010.
Resource sharing
Fish are common property resources and resource sharing is a continuing issue for recreational
fishers. Resource sharing refers to the policy mechanisms to equitably share fish resources between
commercial, recreational, charter, Indigenous and other user groups. The objectives for resource
sharing agreements are to reduce competitive interactions between groups, to ensure catches are
sustainable, and to formally recognise access to fish resources in policy and legislation. The latter
objective is the main reason why the recreational sector is keen to see formal resource shares
defined.
**redacted**s.33




                                .
Suggested action
You will need to consider whether to continue the current advisory body arrangements or make
changes, including membership.
Recreational Fishing Industry Development Strategy (RFIDS)
An RFAC meeting was held on 7–8 September 2010 in Canberra. An outcome from this meeting is
likely to be that you receive advice on the RFIDS.
Recreational Fishing Roundtable
The next quarterly meeting of the roundtable is due in September or October 2010. Briefing will be
provided to you pending confirmation of the date of the next meeting.
Resource sharing
That you note a briefing will be provided later this year on options to address the resource sharing
issue.
Sensitivities
The recreational fishing sector across each state and territory has been generally supportive of the
Recreational Fishing in Australia 2010 and Beyond discussion paper, although questions have been
raised by some stakeholders about funding for prospective actions. The sector also generally
supports the Recreational Fishing Roundtable. However, the Australian Government remains under
pressure from the states and territories and the recreational and game fishing sectors to progress
formal resource sharing arrangements with the commercial sector for a number of Commonwealth
fisheries.
SES contact: Ian Thompson, 02 6272 4623, 0417 663 892

                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              51
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                             FISHERIES MANAGEMENT ISSUES
 Key issues
        Commercial fishers are facing increasing restrictions on their access to resources; increasing
         regulation and compliance costs; and more complex trade and market access requirements.
        Sustainable fisheries production is under threat in our region, particularly in the Pacific and
         in South-East Asia. Australian involvement is aimed at improving fisheries governance to
         help support food security and regional stability.
        Fisheries resource-sharing arrangements between the Commonwealth, states and Northern
         Territory, as well as between commercial and recreational fishers, need to be progressed.


 Key facts
        The gross value of production (GVP) for Australia’s commercial fisheries sector, which had
         been in decline for several years, remained static at $2.2 billion in 2008–09.
        The GVPs of the aquaculture and wild catch sectors in 2008–09 were $861 million and
         $1.4 billion, respectively.
        About $1.5 billion (68 per cent) of Australian production is exported.
        The value of imported fisheries products continued to grow, increasing by 22 per cent to
         $1.7 billion in 2008–09.

Issues
There are a number of international and domestic fisheries management issues that you will be
required to consider early in your term.
European Union catch certification
In January 2010 the European Union (EU) implemented a regulation to help combat illegal fishing by
requiring products imported into one of its member countries to be accompanied by a ‘catch
certificate’ issued by the exporting authority. Australia’s attempts to negotiate the use of an
electronic catch certificate system, one that does not place great costs on industry or an excessive
burden on regulatory authorities, have been hampered by the EU. The EU continues to vary its advice
to the department on the development of the electronic system. The EU’s stance has led to industry
concerns that the regulation is more about protecting European markets than a serious effort to
combat illegal fishing globally.
In the interim, Australia has been using the certificates prescribed in the regulation. However, they
are part of a cumbersome paper-based system. In fact, it has been manageable only because of the
low volumes of exports to the EU at present. The issue is raised regularly by industry at stakeholder
meetings. Industry may raise concerns with you about the complexity of the interim arrangements
and the delays in getting the EU to accept our proposed electronic system.
International involvement
Australia, through its membership of regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs), treaties
and other bilateral agreements, works to ensure international cooperation on the sustainable
management of marine living resources. This helps ensure our access to internationally-shared
fisheries resources; provides leadership on responsible fishing practices; combats illegal, unreported
and unregulated fishing; and helps developing countries in our region better manage their marine
and fisheries interests.
Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1994 and the
United Nations Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA) in 1999, both
aimed at conserving and sustainably managing living resources on the high seas. Australia’s
engagement in RFMOs and other regional and bilateral agreements enables it to fulfil its
international obligations under UNCLOS and UNFSA.




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               52
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Australia’s involvement in organisations such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries
Commission (WCPFC) and the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation:
        allows operators in the domestic Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery to access fish resources on
         the high seas adjacent to Australia’s exclusive economic zone
        ensures Australia can pursue its fishing rights as a coastal state
        supports the sustainable management of shared fisheries resources
        contributes to regional food security and stability.
The next regular session of WCPFC will be held from 6–10 December 2010. You will be requested to
approve a whole-of-government negotiating framework for this meeting by mid-November 2010.
The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) will also seek your
approval of a whole-of-government negotiating framework for the Commission for the Conservation
of Antarctic Marine Living Resources—a conservation organisation for which DEWHA is the lead
agency—by late September 2010. Issues that are likely to come up in 2010 are Southern Bluefin Tuna
(SBT) (see Volume 2, Urgent Business: ‘Southern Bluefin Tuna’) and European Union catch
certification.
Statutory Fishing Rights Allocation Review Panel
The Statutory Fishing Rights Allocation Review Panel (SFRARP) is an independent body established
under the Fisheries Management Act 1991. It comprises a principal member and six panel members
appointed by the minister. Its registry, which undertakes the panel’s administrative operations, is
located within the Fisheries Branch of the department.
SFRARP has the power to review decisions made by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority
(AFMA) or a joint authority on the provisional allocation of statutory fishing rights under a
management plan for a Commonwealth fishery. SFRARP also has the discretion to affirm or vary an
original decision, or set aside a decision and substitute it with a new one. The decisions must be
consistent with terms set out in the management plan, and its determinations may be subject to
appeals to the Federal Court.
SFRARP is currently reviewing the provisional allocations of statutory fishing rights for Australia’s
Small Pelagic Fishery. Three applicants were not satisfied with the result, and SFRARP is expected to
convene between 11 October and 30 November 2010 to review the applications and AFMA’s reasons
for its decisions. The minister has no involvement in SFRARP and it is unlikely you would be lobbied
before the review is undertaken.
Offshore constitutional settlement arrangements
The boundaries of the Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery and the North West Slope Trawl Fishery
(NWSTF) are determined under offshore constitutional settlement (OCS) agreements between the
Australian and Western Australian governments as waters seaward of the 200 metre isobath. The
OCS agreement provides for the Commonwealth to manage trawl fishing in water deeper than
200 metres, while Western Australia manages all other types of fishing in shallower waters. AFMA
has been negotiating with the Department of Fisheries, Western Australia since October 2004 to
amend the OCS to more accurately reflect the 200 metre depth contour.
In 2007 the Australian Government proposed minor changes to the boundaries of the two fisheries
to better reflect the intent of the OCS agreement. As an interim measure, AFMA temporarily closed
the NWSTF for two years to enable Western Australia to amend the OCS agreements. AFMA later
extended the closure until 31 December 2010 and has no intention of extending the closure further.
         **redacted**s.33
                    .By amending the boundary of both fisheries to more accurately reflect the original
intent of the OCS, trawl fishing under Commonwealth management would be limited to water
deeper than 200 metres.
AFMA has asked that the OCS amendment be undertaken as a single package for both fisheries and
that the matter be treated as a priority to ensure a resolution well before the closure expires on
31 December 2010. These amendments would need to be approved by both you and the Minister for
Fisheries, Western Australia.


                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               53
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Torres Strait fisheries management and administrative arrangements
The Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) comprises the Australian and Queensland
ministers for fisheries and the chair of the Torres Strait Regional Authority. Four agencies currently
support the PZJA: the department, AFMA, the Torres Strait Regional Authority and
Fisheries Queensland. A proposal to streamline this arrangement will be considered by the PZJA.
The PZJA, which is chaired by the Australian Government minister for fisheries, is due to consider
several important matters that must be decided before the end of the year—the tropical rock lobster
fishery and the structure of agencies that support the PZJA. The tropical rock lobster fishery is a key
economic resource for Indigenous people but also has significant non-Indigenous involvement. The
Torres Strait Regional Authority is proposing a buyout of some non-Indigenous licences in the fishery
to accommodate future growth in the Indigenous sector.
National climate change and fisheries action plan
The National Climate Change Adaptation Framework, endorsed by COAG in 2007, recommended that
a fisheries climate change action plan be developed to:
        identify the impacts on commercial and recreational fish stocks and aquaculture
        determine ways of distinguishing climate change impacts from those resulting from other
         environmental and management factors
        develop strategies in collaboration with industry and community stakeholders.
The draft plan has been developed in consultation with government and industry representatives
and has broad support.
The Australian Fisheries Management Forum (AFMF) comprises heads/CEOs of the Australian and
state and territory government agencies responsible for fisheries. AFMA agreed to lead development
of the plan with the involvement of the department (to draft it), the Fisheries Research and
Development Corporation (FRDC) and Fisheries Victoria. The draft plan may be considered by the
Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council to seek approval to release it in late 2010.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) and FRDC are running a
$5.5 million research grants program. Investment under this program is being guided by the draft
fisheries action plan and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Plan coordinated by the
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
Aquaculture in Commonwealth waters
Aquaculture is a growing industry and demand is expected to increase for new aquaculture ventures
in states and Northern Territory waters and potentially in Commonwealth waters. However, there
are no provisions in the Fisheries Management Act 1991 that allow for the regulation of aquaculture
in Commonwealth waters.
The Australian Government, the states and the Northern Territory are working on options for better
defining the levels of responsibility between different jurisdictions for aquaculture ventures in
Commonwealth waters. The two main options are a new Act or an addition to the Fisheries
Management Act. These options are being further developed for ministerial council decision,
probably late in 2011 or 2012.
Developing and implementing regulations for aquaculture in Commonwealth waters could take two
to three years. In the meantime, the Australian Government will seek a workable interim
arrangement with the states and the Northern Territory. The objective is to have an effective, well-
governed offshore aquaculture industry within five years.
Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)—finances
AFMA will be writing to you to seek your approval for their Cost Recovery Impact Statement (CRIS)
for 2010–11. Your approval is required prior to implementation and in order to complete budgeting
processes, including setting of industry levies for 2010–11. The FMA CRIS was prepared in
consultation with the Commonwealth Fisheries Association (see Volume 7, Statutory Authorities and
Portfolio Bodies: ‘Australian Fisheries Management Authority’).



                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               54
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Suggested action
That you note the complex nature of these issues and that a number of decisions are due by the end
of this year. The department will provide briefings on these issues and outcomes of decisions as
information becomes available.
SES contact: Ian Thompson, 02 6272 4623, 0417 663 892




                                        CURRENT ISSUES
                                             55
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         FISHERIES REQUIREMENTS UNDER ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION
 Key issues
        While Australian fisheries are principally managed under the Fisheries Management Act
         1991, they must also comply with a number of conditions set under the Environment
         Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Some fisheries face significant
         restrictions arising from fisheries management conditions set under the EPBC Act.
 Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)
        Three deepwater dogfish species—Harrison’s dogfish, Southern dogfish and Endeavour
         dogfish—have been nominated for listing as threatened species under the EPBC Act. The
         Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts is expected to make a decision
         on the listing of these species by the end of 2010.
 Sea lion interactions with gillnets in the SESSF
        A recent report has identified gillnet fishing in the SESSF as a threat to the vulnerable
         Australian sea lion.
        The Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy, designed to mitigate interactions between
         sea lions and gillnets, commenced on 30 June 2010. This strategy is not widely supported by
         either industry or conservation groups, for opposing reasons.
 Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) Fishery
        A decision on listing SBT as a threatened species under the EPBC Act is expected in late
         October 2010. Continued targeted fishing of SBT in Australia depends on the nature of this
         decision, which will take into account international efforts to rebuild stock.
        For information on the SBT Fishery see Volume 2, Urgent Business: ‘Southern Bluefin Tuna’.


 Key facts
 Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)
        Dogfish numbers have declined significantly in the SESSF as a result of fishing pressure.
        The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has developed a dogfish
         management strategy to mitigate the impact of fishing. Stage 1 of the strategy was
         implemented on 30 June 2010 and Stage 2 will be implemented by 17 December 2010.
        The SESSF Wildlife Trade Operation (SESSF WTO) declaration, under the EPBC Act, sets
         management conditions for the fishery pertaining to Australian sea lions and upper-slope
         dogfish.
 Sea lion interactions with gillnets in the SESSF
        AFMA implemented the Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy on 30 June 2010 to
         mitigate sea lion interactions in the gillnet sector of the SESSF.
        On 21 June 2010, the then minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, approved funding of $300 000
         to support electronic monitoring of sea lion interactions with gillnets in the SESSF.

Issues
While Australian fisheries are principally managed under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, they
must also comply with a number of conditions set under the EPBC Act. The fishing industry as a
whole must meet rigorous environmental standards set under the EPBC Act. In a number of cases,
fisheries face significant restrictions in order to meet these standards.
As the minister responsible for the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and Fisheries Administration Act
1991, you are responsible for approving legislative amendments to these Acts and their associated
Regulations, setting fisheries policy and defining responsibility for fisheries between the
Commonwealth and the states and territories. This includes governance of Commonwealth fisheries
through the approval of management plans for Commonwealth fisheries and AFMA’s annual and



                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              56
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


corporate plans. In exceptional circumstances, the minister may also direct AFMA under the Fisheries
Administration Act 1991.
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)
Three species of dogfish—Harrison’s dogfish, Southern dogfish and Endeavour dogfish (also known as
gulper sharks)—have been nominated for listing as threatened species under the EPBC Act. The three
species have declined significantly in the SESSF. The Threatened Species Scientific Committee has
completed its assessment of their status but has delayed advising the Minister for Environment
Protection, Heritage and the Arts of their findings until after the election. It is expected that a
decision on the listing of these species will be made before the end of 2010.
The Upper-slope Dogfish Management Strategy was implemented in response to conditions set in
the SESSF WTO. Stage 1 of the strategy was implemented on 30 June 2010 and Stage 2 is due to be
implemented by 17 December 2010. A key component of the strategy is closures of large areas of the
SESSF to fishing. These closures could significantly affect some sectors of the SESSF industry, in
particular the auto-longline and trawl sectors. Closures may result in commercial fishers fishing in
potentially less productive or more remote areas of the SESSF to achieve their catch quota, and may
increase fishing intensity in those areas.
Sea lion interactions with gillnets in the SESSF
The Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy was implemented on 30 June 2010 in response to the
conditions set in the SESSF WTO. The strategy includes closures of large areas of the SESSF to gillnet
fishing, increased monitoring and industry initiatives such as committing to develop a gillnetting code
of conduct, with assistance from AFMA and the Commonwealth Fisheries Association, within three
months of the strategy being implemented. Australian sea lion interactions with gillnets in the SESSF
and the implementation of the Australian Sea Lion Management Strategy are particularly sensitive
issues. Neither the gillnet fishing industry nor conservation groups are happy with the strategy’s
requirements.
Industry and conservation groups are lobbying the government against the SESSF WTO declaration
conditions imposed on the SESSF, for opposing reasons. Industry is concerned that actions to
mitigate conditions go too far, while conservation groups consider that conditions do not go far
enough.
Suggested action
That you note the complex nature of these issues and that a number of decisions directly affecting
the operation of the SBT fishery and the SESSF are expected by October 2010. The department will
provide advice on these issues and decisions as information becomes available.
Sensitivities
Interactions between fishing activities and non-target species and the long-term sustainability of the
marine environment are ongoing issues. A continuing and potentially costly issue for the fishing
industry as a whole is maintaining or implementing new practices to ensure that the conditions
under the EPBC Act to mitigate/prevent interactions with threatened/endangered species are met. In
addition, industry argues that restrictions will reduce domestic seafood production and lead to
import substitution of alternative seafood products, often sourced from countries where few
environmental controls are applied.
SES contact: Ian Thompson, 02 6272 4623, 0417 663 892




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              57
FOOD
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                          FOOD SUPPLY CONTINUITY PLANNING
 Key issues
        Under the COAG and Australian Government influenza pandemic planning arrangements,
         you have responsibility for the continuity of food supplies during significant national
         emergencies.
        Government officials and industry are drafting joint, national plans to enable food supplies
         to continue in times of crisis.
        These plans are almost complete. However, significant policy matters still need to be
         resolved and the plans tested, including through exercises.


 Key facts
        National food continuity planning commenced in 2007 with the threat of an Avian Influenza
         pandemic.
        The food supply chain is wholly owned and operated by the private sector and, in a national
         emergency, governments at all levels would rely on industry to maintain food supplies.
         Resilience in the food supply chain is limited to around 30 days non-perishable produce and
         three to five days fresh produce—timeframes that are decreasing as supply chain
         efficiencies continue to be implemented.
        The department will have a national leadership and coordination role in developing and
         implementing the plans should they need to be activated.

Issue
Under the COAG and Australian Government influenza pandemic planning arrangements you are
responsible for the continuity of the food supply during significant national emergencies.
Government officials and industry are drafting joint national plans to enable food supplies to
continue during a crisis.
This activity is part of a broader national Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, the development
of which began in 2003 and is led by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department. The
department is continuing to work with state and territory governments and key stakeholders in the
food industry on finalising outstanding aspects of the national plans covering the food supply.
Additional funding will be required to complete this outstanding policy work.
Suggested action
That you write to the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General to advise on progress on the national
plans, policy matters requiring further attention and a proposed work plan to address the key
matters within financial constraints. Further briefing will be provided on this matter.
Sensitivities
The government’s capability to continue food supplies will be a critical issue for the Australian
community in the event of a national emergency.
Domestic food supply continuity planning should not be confused with the broader issue of long-
term global food security, which is the subject of considerable debate in the agricultural and broader
community.
SES contact: Allen Grant, 02 6272 5777, 0407 436 159




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               61
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                       FOOD PROGRAMS
 Key issues
        In 2009 the Australian Government provided $2.2 million from the Promoting Australian
         Produce (Major Events) program for the Beef Australia expo (held every three years).
         Organisers of the next expo (scheduled to be held in May 2012) have sought $1 million from
         the 2010–11 funding round. The department expects them to seek a further $1.2 million in
         2011–12. However, there is no funding available under this program after 30 June 2011 and
         other potential funding sources have not been identified.
        The department is assessing all 2010–11 funding bids and will make recommendations to
         you shortly.
        Your consideration is also required on the use of an estimated $6.4 million in funds that are
         likely to remain uncommitted from the Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity
         Program (due to end on 30 June 2012). As the department considers there is limited time
         available to conduct a third funding round, these funds may be better used on other food
         industry-related activities such as the recently announced ALP National Food Plan policy,
         which identified funds from this program that could be allocated to the new policy.


 Key facts
        The department administers three food-related funding programs.
        Promoting Australian Produce (Major Events) is a competitive grants program that aims to
         improve collaboration and cooperation in Australian agricultural industries.
        The Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity Program aims to make Australia’s
         regional food and seafood industries more productive and competitive through innovation
         and technology improvements.
        The Promoting Australian Produce (Major Events) program aims to assist agriculture and
         seafood industries develop their capacity to promote and market Australian produce more
         effectively to domestic and export markets. All funds under this program have been fully
         committed.

Issue
Promoting Australian Produce (Major Events)
The next Beef Australia expo is scheduled to be held in May 2012 in Rockhampton. In 2009 the
Australian Government provided $2.2 million from the Major Events program for the 2009 Beef
Australia expo, which is held every three years. Organisers of the next expo have sought $1 million
from the 2010–11 Major Event program funds. A further request for $1.2 million is expected in 2011–
12. However, there is no funding available under this program after 30 June 2011 and other potential
funding sources have not been identified.
Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity Program
This $35 million program was reduced to $20.4 million because of funds being reallocated and
returned to government. An estimated $6.4 million ($0.7 million in 2010–11 and $5.7 million in
2011–12) is likely to remain uncommitted after deeds are finalised for all the projects in the first two
funding rounds. The department considers there is not enough time to conduct a third funding round
adequately. The remaining funds may be better used on other food industry-related activities such as
the recently announced ALP policy to develop a National Food Plan, which identified funds from this
program that could be allocated to the new policy (see Volume 1, Policy commitments: ‘National
Food Plan’).




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               62
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Suggested action
You will be asked to consider advice from the department on applications for the 2010–11 Promoting
Australian Produce (Major Events) program, including from Beef Australia organisers.
The department will provide you with separate briefing on options for using uncommitted funds
from the Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity Program shortly.
Sensitivities
All three food programs have been popular with applicants—inquiries are still being received about
funding opportunities.
**redacted**s.47G.

Background
Further background on the government’s food programs is provided in Volume 6, Portfolio Programs
and Initiatives.
SES contact: Richard Souness, 02 6272 4899, 0411 247 028




                                        CURRENT ISSUES
                                             63
FORESTRY
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         ASIA–PACIFIC FORESTRY SKILLS AND CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAM
 Key issues
         The department is negotiating funding deeds for four competitively selected projects and
          two bilateral projects under Phase II of the Asia–Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building
          Program (the program) as agreed by the then minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP.
         You will be asked to consider and advise if the department should finalise funding deeds
          with the project proponents and funding arrangements with the governments of Indonesia
          and Papua New Guinea to commence activities under the program.


 Key facts
         Minister Burke approved four competitively selected projects and two bilateral projects
          under the program in March 2010.
         $12.1 million is available for the priority countries of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to
          build capacity for sustainable forest management and support efforts to reduce emissions
          from deforestation and forest degradation.

Issue
Minister Burke approved four proposals received under Phase II of the program, subject to successful
negotiation of funding deeds with the proponents. The department informed the successful
proponents of the approval and commenced negotiating funding deeds. The minister also approved
the department negotiating separate bilateral projects with the governments of Indonesia and Papua
New Guinea. These projects will be consistent with the program purpose and with the objectives of
the letter of intent with Indonesia and the memorandum of understanding with Papua New Guinea
on sustainable forest management.
The four approved projects will:
        design and support a Central Kalimantan fire risk management system
        develop a process roadmap and decision support system for sustainable forest management
         and reducing emissions, deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia
        build capacity for implementing sustainable forest management and reduced emissions from
         deforestation and forest degradation activities in Indonesia at district and provincial levels
        build capacity in monitoring and enforcement of the Papua New Guinea Logging Code of
         Practice.
The department will provide advice and seek your views regarding confirmation of this expenditure
and next steps in the coming month.
Suggested action
That you consider whether the department should finalise previously approved projects and funding
arrangements with the governments of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea under the program.
Sensitivities
The four successful grantees are negotiating, or have completed negotiating, funding deeds with the
department and are anxious to know whether their projects will still be funded.
The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry is still examining the detail of the four selected projects before
providing full support for them. It is necessary to have partner government support for the four
recommended projects before committing funding.
Background
Phase II of the program is part of the Australian Government’s International Forest Carbon Initiative.
$12.1 million is available to build regional capacity for delivering sustainable forest management in
support of efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
SES contact: John Talbot, 02 6272 3847, 0418 112 286


                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                67
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                 RENEWAL OF THE REGIONAL FOREST AGREEMENTS
 Key issues
        You have the responsibility for setting the government’s position on Regional Forest
         Agreements (RFAs) renewals, in consultation with the Minister for Environment Protection,
         Heritage and the Arts, and with the approval of the Prime Minister. A proposed position and
         negotiating strategy for renewal of the RFAs has been developed by departments for your
         consideration.
        The proposed approach takes account of the recommendations of the Hawke Review, the
         Senate Inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and
         RFA reviews.


 Key facts
        There are 10 RFAs—three in New South Wales, five in Victoria, one in Tasmania and one in
         Western Australia.
        They have a scheduled duration of 20 years and were signed between 1997 and 2001.
        Under the terms of the RFAs, the process for extending the duration of the agreements is to
         be negotiated by the Commonwealth and state at the 15-year review point. The first of the
         RFAs to be signed, for Tasmania and East Gippsland, will reach that point in 2012.

Issue
The department has developed a negotiating strategy for the renewal of RFAs in consultation with
the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet.
**redacted**s.47C
                                                                                  . State agreement
to make these improvements would be prerequisites for extending the life of the RFAs.
We propose to negotiate multilaterally with the RFA states on the key requirements for renewed
RFAs before starting discussions on individual RFAs. Negotiations with RFA states will need to
commence in the next few months if a framework for renewals of RFAs is to be incorporated in the
first reviews in 2012.
We will provide a detailed briefing on the position and proposed approach in the next four weeks.
Once you have decided your position, you will need to seek the agreement of the Minister for
Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts before writing to the Prime Minister seeking approval
to proceed.
Suggested action
That you consider a negotiating strategy for RFA renewal.
Sensitivities
It is expected that environmental groups may object to any RFAs being renewed and may want more
fundamental changes, including an end to old growth logging and the protection of all high
conservation value forests.
Industry is seeking extensions to RFAs that will allow continued access to forest resources and
provide investment periods greater than 10 years to allow for ongoing investment and employment
in the native forest and related processing industries.
SES contact: John Talbot, 02 6272 3847, 0418 112 286




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              68
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         ROUND THREE OF THE FOREST INDUSTRIES DEVELOPMENT FUND
 Key issues
        The then minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, agreed on 20 April 2010 to conduct a third
         round of the Forest Industries Development Fund (FIDF) with funding of $2.46 million in
         2010–11.
        In the next two weeks, you will be asked to consider whether you wish to proceed with the
         program unchanged, or to advise of changes to the program or alternatives for the
         remaining funding.


 Key facts
        In 2007, $9 million was committed by the government over three financial years, 2008–09
         to 2010–11, to establish FIDF to support projects designed to add value to Australia’s forest
         products and improve the international competitiveness of the forest industry.
        To date $6.54 million has been approved for 20 projects under two rounds.

Issue
FIDF was a $9 million program intended to improve the international competitiveness of the forest
industry and support its long-term economic viability through increased investment in measures
designed to value add to forest resources. The program was designed to run over three financial
years, 2008–09 to 2010–11. Around $2.46 million remains uncommitted under the program.
Suggested action
That you consider proceeding with a third round of the program, with a further detailed briefing to
be provided.
Sensitivities
Forest industry members have expressed concerns with the implementation of the FIDF. Members
consider that broad strategic investment, instead of company-targeted programs, has more benefit
to the industry.
Background
FIDF was implemented as a reimbursement, competitive grants program with a maximum grant of
30 per cent of total project costs. Grants were generally up to $500 000 but higher grants were
considered in special circumstances where outcomes would apply across the whole industry.
Minister Burke agreed that a third round would be conducted under the current approved guidelines,
with a call for projects (open for four weeks) with funding up to $300 000 per project provided as a
direct grant rather than through reimbursement.
SES contact: John Talbot, 02 6272 3847, 0418 112 286




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              69
INTERNATIONAL
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                         JORDAN AND EGYPT—LIVE ANIMAL TRADE
 Key issues
        Australia has memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on trade in live animals with Egypt
         and Jordan, and a number of other countries in the Middle East and Africa.
        . **redacted**s.33                                                                .
         .                   .
        .                                                                                   .
         .                                                .
        .                                                                                            .
         ..          ,                                                                                    .
         . ..                                                                                 .


 Key facts
        MoUs provide assurances to help manage the risks associated with live trade, especially to
         ensure animals are unloaded.
        MoUs have been signed with Egypt (October 2006) and Jordan (May 2005).
        About 314 000 sheep, worth $22 million, and 10 000 cattle, worth $5.3 million, were
         exported to Jordan in 2008–09. About 33 000 cattle have been exported to Egypt since the
         trade resumed earlier this year.

Issue
**redacted**s.33




       .
**redacted**s.33



                                                                                    =
Suggested action
That you agree to conduct an exchange of letters with your counterparts in Egypt and Jordan to
address outstanding matters related to the MoUs.
Sensitivities
Live trade is a sensitive public issue. Interest groups including Animals Australia, People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals, the RSPCA and the World Society for the Protection of Animals
continue to pressure the government to end the trade, especially long-haul voyages.
Background
The MoU with Egypt currently only allows exports to one port because other facilities could not
assure handling and slaughter of Australian cattle in a manner consistent with World Organisation for
Animal Health guidelines. The trade resumed in 2010 following its suspension in 2006 in response to
reports of animal welfare incidents in Egypt. The proposed exchange of letters with Egypt is the most
time critical, as the facilities will soon be operational.
SES contact: Victoria Anderson, 02 6272 4881, 0438 210 538



                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                73
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                     TRADE NEGOTIATIONS
 Key issues
        Progress in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round negotiations remains a key
         trade priority.
        Given the slow progress of multilateral trade reform, negotiating and concluding free trade
         agreements (FTAs) is important for maintaining and improving Australia’s market access and
         competitiveness.


 Key facts
        While WTO members remain committed to a successful conclusion of the Doha Round, the
         negotiations are widely regarded to have stalled.
        Australia has six FTAs in force, seven under negotiation and two under consideration (see
         tables 1, 2 and 3). FTA negotiations with the Republic of Korea are targeted to be finalised in
         late 2010.
        The Productivity Commission is to release its final report on the impact of FTAs in
         November 2010. The draft report was released on 16 July 2010.

Issue
A successful conclusion of the WTO Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations has been the
department’s major trade priority, given that it entails various levels of trade reform for all
153 members. Progress in the Doha Round has slowed over the past 18 months, essentially because
of different ambitions between developing and developed member states. In addition to the
multilateral trade agenda, the department contributes to Australia’s FTA program, recognising that
FTAs can provide fast-track trade reform.
The department participates in trade negotiations to secure market access for portfolio industries
and to protect portfolio interests. (See Volume 4, Significant Portfolio Priorities: ‘Approach to trade’).
Suggested action
That you support the portfolio’s existing approach to negotiating international trade outcomes that
are comprehensive in scope and have commercially meaningful outcomes for portfolio industries.
**redacted**s.33
                                                                         .
Background
Australia’s current FTA negotiations are outlined in tables 1, 2 and 3. Comprehensive FTAs with these
nations have the potential to achieve significant gains for portfolio industries and improve Australia’s
competitiveness in key markets, particularly as competitors sign agreements with trading partners.
Of the current FTAs under negotiation, the agreement with the Republic of Korea is closest to
finalisation and contains much of relevance to the agriculture sector.
The Productivity Commission is undertaking a study of the impact of bilateral and regional trade
agreements. The department provided a submission to the commission in February 2010 and is
considering the recommendations of the draft report, which was released on 16 July 2010. The draft
report advocates the primacy of the multilateral trade system but suggests that fast-track
alternatives should be considered. However, the draft report suggests such alternatives need not be
comprehensive in sectoral coverage, which means opportunities for agricultural access may be lost.
The National Farmers’ Federation does not support sector-specific negotiations that exclude
agriculture. The final report is expected in November 2010.




                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                74
                    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Table 1: Agreements in force
      Partner                                                    Summary
New Zealand           Signed on 28 March 1983 and entered into force on 1 January 1983 (prior to its
                      signature). It was the first bilateral FTA to include free trade in services and eliminated
                      all tariffs between Australia and New Zealand within five years.
Singapore               Signed on 17 February 2003 and entered into force on 28 July 2003. The FTA eliminated
                        all tariffs for Australia on entry into force.
United States           Signed on 18 May 2004 and entered into force on 1 January 2005. Under the agreement
                        66 per cent of agriculture tariffs went to zero immediately, with a further 9 per cent
                        dropping to zero on 1 January 2008. Australia’s access to beef and dairy quotas was also
                        expanded.
Thailand                Signed in 2004 and entered into force on 1 January 2005. Under the FTA, tariffs on
                        agricultural products have been eliminated or are being phased to zero by 2015, 2020 or
                        2025.
Chile                   Signed on 30 July 2008 and entered into force on 6 March 2009. The agreement will
                        result in tariffs on all existing merchandise trade being eliminated by 2015.
Association of South   Signed on 27 February 2009 and entered into force on 1 January 2010. The agreement
East Asian Nations–    binds current low tariffs, and will deliver tariff elimination from the more developed
New Zealand            ASEAN member countries and Vietnam on between 90 and 100 per cent of tariff lines
                       covering 96 per cent of current Australian exports to the region. Cambodia, Laos and
                       Indonesia are yet to complete their internal requirements for the agreement.
Table 2: Current negotiations
      Partner                                                      Status
People’s Republic of Negotiations commenced in May 2005. The 15th round was held in Beijing in June 2010.
China                  The next round is scheduled for late 2010.**redacted**s.33
Japan                   Negotiations commenced in April 2007. The 11th round was held in Canberra in
                        April 2010 and the next round is expected in September 2010.**redacted**s.33            .
Malaysia                Negotiations commenced in May 2005. On 7 October 2008, Australia and Malaysia
                        agreed to reinvigorate FTA negotiations following conclusion of the ASEAN–Australia–
                        New Zealand FTA. The seventh round was held in Malaysia in April 2010 and the next
                        round is proposed for later in 2010, where it is expected tariff offers will be exchanged.
Gulf Cooperation        Negotiations commenced in July 2007. The fourth round was held in June 2009. A date
Council                 for the next round has not been set. Negotiations are on hold.
Republic of Korea       Negotiations commenced in May 2009. The fifth round was held in late May 2010 in
                        Canberra. Further talks will be held in September 2010.
Pacific Island          FTA negotiations under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER)
countries               Plus arrangement were announced by Pacific leaders in August 2009. Officials held
                        discussions on PACER Plus in Vanuatu in April 2010. The next officials’ meeting is
                        planned for October 2010.
Trans-Pacific        In 2008 Australia agreed to participate in negotiations with Brunei Darussalam, Chile,
Partnership          New Zealand, Singapore, the United States, Peru and Vietnam. The first round of
                     discussions was held in March 2010 and the second was held in June 2010 in the United
                     States. The next round will be held in Brunei in October 2010.
Table 3: Agreements under consideration
      Partner                                                   Status
India                The feasibility study was concluded on 4 May 2010. Australia and India are considering
                     the recommendations of the study before negotiations can be launched.
Indonesia               The feasibility study was presented to trade ministers Crean and Pangestu in
                        February 2009. Both countries are considering whether to progress to negotiations.

SES contact: Victoria Anderson, 02 6272 4881, 0438 210 538




                                              CURRENT ISSUES
                                                   75
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                    RUSSIAN FEDERATION—MARKET ACCESS ISSUES
 Key issues
        .    **redacted**s.33                                                                               .
        .                                                                                                   .
        .                                                                                                   .
             .
        Ongoing work to build and strengthen underlying frameworks for market access, combined
         with the signing of a red meat memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Russian
         Federation in late July 2010, are expected to support the trade relationship.


 Key facts
        Before the suspension of all exports from 1 August 2009, the Russian Federation market was
         worth $57 million, representing 64 per cent of total Australian kangaroo meat exports in
         2007–08.
        Australian red meat exports to the Russian Federation fell from a high of around 70 000
         tonnes, worth $351 million, in 2008 to 15 000 tonnes, worth $116 million, in 2009.

Issue
**redacted**s.33
                                          Australia’s aim is to recommence the kangaroo trade and
rebuild the red meat trade back to 2008 (pre-global financial crisis and food security crisis) levels.
Ongoing efforts will also be required to manage short-term access impediments; principally, the
potential for temporary suspension by the Russian Federation of Australian meat export
establishments.
Suggested action
That you seek early contact with your Russian Federation counterpart to continue to build the
bilateral agricultural relationship and press for greater market access. The next opportunity may be
alongside the Australia–Russia Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC),
scheduled for late 2010 in Australia. In the past, JCTEC has been co-chaired by the Australian minister
for trade and the Russian Federation minister for agriculture.
Sensitivities
The red meat industry continues to argue for the appointment of a departmental officer to Moscow
but accepts there are budgetary constraints preventing this. The department appointed a locally
engaged staff member in Moscow in January 2010.
Background
Agricultural products, namely red meat and live cattle exports, dominate Australia’s trade with the
Russian Federation. The Russian Federation has potential as a growing market for Australian
agricultural products, including meat, livestock, dairy products, and skins and hides.
The Russian Federation’s recently announced agricultural policy goal, outlined in its Food Security
Doctrine, is to be virtually entirely self-sufficient for major food products. The doctrine aims for self-
sufficiency in the meat sector of 85 per cent and in the dairy sector of 90 per cent by 2012.
SES contact: Victoria Anderson, 02 6272 4881, 0438 210 538




                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                76
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                          WTO NEW ZEALAND APPLES DISPUTE
 Key issues
        New Zealand and Australia have been in dispute in the World Trade Organization (WTO)
         over Australia’s measures relating to the importation of apples from New Zealand.
        The WTO panel found comprehensively in favour of New Zealand, ruling that Australia has
         breached its international obligations under the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and
         Phytosanitary Measures.
        Australia will appeal aspects of the WTO panel’s findings and formally lodged its notice of
         appeal on 31 August 2010.
        The Minister for Trade has responsibility for deciding the grounds of the appeal.


 Key facts
        The WTO panel’s final report was released publicly on 9 August 2010.
        Australia lodged its notice of appeal on 31 August 2010.
        The appeal hearing will be held on 11–12 October 2010.

Issue
On 31 August 2007, New Zealand challenged certain measures pertaining to the importation of
apples into Australia in the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). A WTO panel was established on
21 January 2008. New Zealand alleged that the measures at issue were not scientifically justified and
were more trade restrictive than necessary. Australia sought to rebut New Zealand’s scientific and
legal claims.
The WTO panel’s final report was issued to the parties in confidence on 27 May 2010, and was
publicly released on 9 August 2010. The final report ruled comprehensively in favour of New Zealand,
finding that Australia has breached its international obligations under the WTO Agreement on
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
The decision to appeal falls within the portfolio responsibility of the Minister for Trade. The then
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Hon. Stephen Smith MP, and the then Minister for
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, issued a joint media statement on
10 August 2010 announcing Australia would appeal the decision of the WTO panel. Australia’s notice
of appeal was lodged with the WTO on 31 August 2010. The grounds of the appeal were determined
by Minister Smith. The appeal hearing will be held on 11–12 October 2010.
Suggested action
That you support the appeal process and manage the outcomes of the final appeal decision,
including considering possible changes to Australia’s biosecurity processes.
Sensitivities
There has been significant media interest throughout the dispute. The panel found deficiencies in
Australia’s import risk analysis process that will need to be addressed should the appeal fail.
SES contact: Sara Cowan, 02 6272 4852, 0434 735 471




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              77
QUARANTINE AND BIOSECURITY
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                   DEVELOPING BIOSECURITY POLICY FOR IMPORTS
 Key issues
        Import risk analyses (IRAs) conducted to assess the biosecurity risks of proposed imports are
         often sensitive, drawing criticism from domestic producers concerned about the potential
         introduction of pests or diseases and the impact of imports on competition. These criticisms
         may be subject to media attention.
        IRAs have also been subject to Senate committee inquiries.
        Our trading partners have also been critical of IRAs, raising concerns that measures are
         overly stringent. Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines have mounted formal World
         Trade Organization (WTO) challenges against Australian IRAs.


 Key facts
        Australia exports two-thirds of its agricultural commodities and supports a free trade policy
         according to WTO rules that govern international trade.
        An IRA is a regulated process that identifies and assesses risks posed by the pests and
         diseases relevant to an import proposal. If those risks exceed the level of quarantine risk
         that is acceptable to Australia, the IRA specifies what measures should be taken to reduce
         those risks to an acceptable level.
        Australia has a conservative approach to managing biosecurity risks—defined as accepting a
         very low but not zero risk (consistent with the WTO Agreement on the Application of
         Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures).
        In 2010 the Biosecurity Services Group (BSG) finalised or amended IRAs for a range of
         commodities.

Suggested action
That you note that Australia has one of the most thorough and transparent IRA processes in the
world. The legislated process, as described in the Import risk analysis handbook, is subject to public
scrutiny and includes formal stakeholder consultation, regulated timeframes and independent
scientific and process checks and balances.
That you note that the IRA is an administrative process—in a legal sense it does not authorise
anything. The making of a policy determination, which represents the completion of the IRA process,
is made by the Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine—a position held by the secretary of the
department. The policy determination provides a policy framework for decisions on whether or not
to grant an import permit and any conditions that may be attached to the permit. Permits are the
formal authorising documents.
Background
The profitability of Australia’s agriculture, food, fishing and forest industries relies heavily on being
able to export. Science-based risk analysis provides an important foundation for safe trade. The
future of our agricultural and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and
jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain a good animal and plant health status.
Australia’s agricultural and food industries also depend on the import conditions our export
industries face overseas. Australia has long been an advocate of the application of fair and consistent
trading rules as provided by the WTO.
BSG continues to improve the way it assesses biosecurity risks by, for example, engaging
stakeholders earlier in the assessment process, holding more face-to-face meetings and working
closely with our trading partners to establish mutually beneficial protocols. For further information
on biosecurity reform, see Volume 4, Significant Portfolio Priorities: ‘Biosecurity reforms’.
SES contact: Vanessa Findlay, 02 6272 3050, 0407 895 813



                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               81
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                             ANIMAL IMPORT RISK ANALYSES
 Key issues
        The prawn import risk analysis (IRA) was completed on 22 April 2010.
        The ornamental finfish provisional final IRA report was released on 22 July 2010 for a 30-day
         appeal period that closed on 23 August 2010.
        IRAs for beef from the United States, Canada and Japan commenced on 8 April 2010.
        These IRAs have attracted considerable interest from domestic stakeholders and trading
         partners.

Suggested action
That you note that the department will provide you with advice prior to major milestones for animal
IRAs, including key consultations. Your attention will be drawn to cases where attention to and
management of stakeholder and trading partner expectations and sensitivities may be required.
Sensitivities
Prawn importers and trading partners in South–East Asia (particularly China, Thailand and Vietnam)
are opposed to the stringent measures under the completed IRA. The Australian prawn farming
industry and state governments support the measures.
The large aquarium hobby industry may have difficulty importing popular fish families (gourami,
poeciliid and cichlid) under the conditions in the ornamental finfish provisional final IRA report.
Trading partners are opposed to the recommended more stringent measures.
Domestic stakeholders are divided on access for imported beef. The United States and Canadian
governments have expressed disappointment that the IRA process will take up to 24 months to
complete.
Background
The prawn IRA was completed on 22 April 2010 with the announcement of the Director of Animal
and Plant Quarantine’s policy determination. This completed the longstanding IRA that commenced
in 1997. More stringent interim quarantine measures were implemented in October 2007, based on
the findings of the revised draft IRA report, and amended in September 2008. The recommended
measures in the final IRA closely reflect the interim measures.
Due to new scientific information on gourami iridovirus (a serious disease affecting fish), a standard
IRA is being completed to assess the risk of the importation of fresh water ornamental finfish. The
provisional final IRA report for ornamental finfish was released on 22 July 2010 for a 30-day appeal
period that closed on 23 August 2010. The provisional final IRA report recommends more stringent
quarantine measures. If any appeals are received, the Chair of the Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel
(IRAAP) will consider them according to the IRAAP operating procedures. The ground for appeal is
that there was a significant deviation from the regulated IRA process that adversely affects the
interests of a stakeholder. If an appeal is allowed, the IRAAP may offer advice to the Chief Executive
of Biosecurity Australia on ways of overcoming any identified deficiencies. After the appeal process is
completed, a recommendation for a policy determination will be made to the Director of Animal and
Plant Quarantine.
To assess the risk to animal health from the importation of beef and beef products intended for
human consumption, regulated IRAs for beef from the United States, Canada and Japan commenced
on 8 April 2010. The Japan IRA stopped on 10 May 2010, under legislative ‘stop the clock’ provisions,
following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and will recommence when Japan is
assessed as FMD free. Work continues on the draft reports for the United States and Canada with the
assistance of an expert panel. When finalised, the drafts will be released for 60 days for public
comment. The IRAs will include consideration of animal health issues and are being undertaken
separately, but in parallel, with Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s assessments of the food
safety risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (see Volume 2, Urgent Issues: ‘Senate inquiry on
beef imports’).
SES contact: Robyn Martin, 02 6272 5444, 0427 225 686

                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              82
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


          IMPORT RISK ANALYSIS FOR APPLES FROM THE UNITED STATES
 Key issues
        Import risk analyses (IRAs) consider the level of risk that may be associated with the
         importation or proposed importation of animals, plants and their products.
        IRAs contain key steps that are conducted under regulation, use technical and scientific
         experts in the relevant fields and involve consultation with stakeholders.
        In March 2010, the department invoked the ‘stop the clock’ provision on the IRA for apples
         from the United States as critical information still needs to be provided by the United States.
         The IRA’s regulated deadline of 17 September 2010 has therefore been delayed.
        Until the United States provides critical information on the three diseases of concern the
         department is unable to prepare a revised draft IRA report for consideration by the Eminent
         Scientists Group.
        Fire blight, which is the subject of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute between
         Australia and New Zealand, is prevalent in the United States. It remains one of the domestic
         industry’s major concerns.


 Key facts
        The IRA was formally commenced on 17 March 2008 as an expanded IRA. Under the
         regulated process, it was due to be completed by 17 September 2010 (30 months from the
         commencement).
        The department has worked closely with the United States in deciding to ‘stop the clock’.
        The quarantine measures proposed for fire blight for United States apples are the same as
         that for New Zealand apples. The United States submitted comments to the WTO as a third
         party to the dispute between Australia and New Zealand. The final IRA for United States
         apples will be affected by the final outcome of this WTO dispute.

Issue
The decision to ‘stop the clock’ on the IRA for apples from the United States will provide the
opportunity for the United States to collate the information requested and propose quarantine
measures that manage the risk associated with imports. At the same time it will support the most
trade-favourable outcome possible in the IRA by allowing the United States to develop measures
suitable for its producers, the alternative being to recommend that trade not occur. The clock will be
restarted as soon as satisfactory information has been provided.
Suggested action
No action is required at this stage.
Sensitivities
The Australian apple industry remains opposed to the importation of apples from any country and, in
relation to the United States apples IRA, has raised concerns that there was limited opportunity to
review all quarantine measures.
Consistent with its submissions on the IRA for apples from New Zealand, Apple & Pear Australia
Limited has raised a number of concerns with the methodology applied and asserted that
stakeholders must be provided opportunity to review all proposed quarantine measures prior to the
IRA report being finalised. The department will, where appropriate, consult with stakeholders in
finalising any quarantine measures imposed on the importation of apples from the United States,
particularly on the three diseases of concern that remain outstanding. While consulting on
quarantine measures is unlikely to satisfy the industry it will ensure proper process has been
followed and stakeholders have appropriate opportunity to provide to government any additional
information on the biosecurity risks.
SES contact: Vanessa Findlay, 02 6272 3050, 0407 895 813


                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              83
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


        IMPORT RISK ANALYSIS FOR STONE FRUIT FROM THE UNITED STATES
 Key issues
         Import risk analyses (IRAs) consider the level of risk that may be associated with the
          importation or proposed importation of animals, plants and their products.
         IRAs contain key steps that are conducted under regulation, use technical and scientific
          experts in the relevant fields, and involve consultation with stakeholders.
         The Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine has determined the policy that would permit
          stone fruit from the states of California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to be imported to
          Australia, subject to specific quarantine measures.
         Due to risks posed by a new quarantine pest, Drosophila suzukii—spotted wing drosophila
          (SWD)—the United States will need to propose additional quarantine measures before
          imports can occur (see Volume 3, Current Issues: ‘Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing
          drosophila)’).


 Key facts
         The IRA for stone fruit from the United States formally commenced on 13 March 2008 as a
          standard IRA. The provisional final IRA report, which marked the end of the regulated
          process, was released for stakeholder appeal on 15 March 2010.
         On 31 March 2010, the department announced emergency measures for SWD on a range of
          commodities, including stone fruit. It also announced the commencement of a pest initiated
          pest risk analysis for SWD for all fresh fruit import pathways.
         The policy determination for stone fruit from the United States was made on 15 July 2010.

Issue
Prior to completion of the provisional final IRA report for stone fruit from the United States a new
pest, SWD, was reported in the United States. In response, the department introduced emergency
measures, such as mandatory methyl bromide fumigation and increased inspection, that would apply
to stone fruit and other imported host fruits from the United States (for example, strawberries,
cherries, table grapes). The IRA report for stone fruit from the United States was finalised with
reference to the emergency measures that would apply before imports can occur ‘in addition’ to the
quarantine measures originally included in the IRA report.
Suggested action
No action is required on this issue but you should be aware of the Australian stone fruit industry’s
concerns.
Sensitivities
The Australian stone fruit industry has raised concerns that SWD was not properly addressed in the
IRA report. Two appeals against the provisional final IRA report were lodged and cited concerns
about the handling of SWD and the opportunity to comment on changes between the draft and
provisional final IRA reports. The Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel disallowed both appeals and
noted that there was ‘no significant deviation from the regulated IRA process that adversely affected
the interest of a stakeholder’.
The low chill sector is concerned that late season exports from the United States will compete with
its early season market. Low chill stone fruit is produced in warmer areas such as northern New
South Wales and is harvested two to three months before the bulk of the Australian harvest.
SES contact: Vanessa Findlay, 02 6272 3050, 0407 895 813




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               84
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


   GOVERNMENT RESPONSE—SENATE INQUIRY ON PHILIPPINES BANANAS
 Key issues
        The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee (the committee)
         held an inquiry (from February to April 2009) into the Import Risk Analysis (IRA) for bananas
         from the Philippines. Its report, outlining five recommendations, was issued on 25 June
         2009.


 Key facts
        In March 2009, Australia’s Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine made a policy
         determination to allow the importation of Philippine bananas subject to stringent
         quarantine measures being put in place.
        The Philippines will need to demonstrate that the risk management measures can be
         achieved under commercial conditions on an ongoing basis before trade can commence.
         Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officers will be required to inspect,
         verify and audit processes in the Philippines, both before and during the export of bananas
         from the Philippines.
        To date, no import permit applications have been received from the Philippines.

Issue
The government has not yet responded to the Senate inquiry on bananas from the Philippines.
Suggested action
That you note a government response should be tabled in the Senate as soon as practicable.
**redacted**s.33



                                                                                                .
That you note the response may need confirmation with relevant ministers.
Sensitivities
There was interest in the outcome of the Senate inquiry from both the Australian banana industry
and the Philippine Government. The Australian Government’s response is likely to attract interest
and media commentary.
The Hon. Bob Katter MP, Independent Federal Member for Kennedy, has publicly expressed concern
about the importation of bananas. The Philippines retains the ability to revive, at short notice, a
World Trade Organization challenge to Australia.
Background
The Senate inquiry’s report made the following five recommendations:
      Recommendation 1: reviewing the IRA handbook to clarify the level of detail to be provided
       in IRAs regarding risk management measures.
      Recommendation 2: that Biosecurity Australia and AQIS provide the committee with a
       detailed report on the operational plan and risk management measures.
      Recommendation 3: involving the Australian banana industry, through a formal consultation
       process, in the consideration and development of work plans and risk management
       measures.
      Recommendation 4: that Australia’s banana industry be advised if an import permit were
       issued.
      Recommendation 5: that a review of trade be undertaken after one year (if trade does
       commence) and a report be provided to the committee.
SES contact: Colin Grant, 02 6272 3937, 0417 064 355

                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              85
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                ANAO REPORT ON THE IMPORTATION OF LIVE ANIMALS
 Key issues
        Between July 2009 and May 2010, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) conducted an
         audit to examine how effectively the department manages the importation of live animals
         into Australia.
        The ANAO’s report, The Management of Live Animal Imports, tabled in parliament in
         June 2010, contains two recommendations which focus on the need to better record the
         examination of animals and their accompanying import documentation, and the
         improvement of processes and documentation for auditing quarantine-approved premises.
        The ANAO acknowledged the sound framework that has been established for managing
         quarantine risks, and also the focus that has been placed on improving instructional material
         and verification systems following the inquiry into the outbreak of equine influenza in 2007.


 Key facts
        The department has accepted the ANAO’s recommendations and agrees that improved
         record keeping will enhance existing control mechanisms and system auditability.
        The ANAO audit did not find any evidence that animals were imported and released without
         the import documentation being examined.
        The ANAO comments about deficient documentation pertain to record-keeping activities in
         order to improve the auditability of the system.
        For all 207 live animal consignments examined by the ANAO, the mandatory import
         documentation was accounted for and made available to the auditors.

Issue
The recommendations and findings of the ANAO’s audit align with the priorities identified by the
department. The department considers that the improvements recommended by the ANAO are
already being addressed, or are part of the broader reforms outlined in the independent review of
Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements (the Beale review).
Suggested action
That you note the key findings and recommendations of the ANAO report.
That you note the department’s response that improvements recommended by the ANAO are
already being addressed, or are part of the broader reforms recommended by the Beale review.
Sensitivities
The ANAO report could potentially be used by some in an attempt to discredit the department’s
ability to appropriately manage biosecurity and quarantine arrangements.
Background
The audit’s scope considered all aspects of the importation process of live animals, including the
assessment and approval of permit applications, management of the quarantine risk associated with
the importation of live animals, arrangements for post-entry quarantine, and the approval and
auditing of quarantine-approved premises.
It did not examine the development of quarantine policy, the assessment of import risks or the
detection of illegally imported live animals.
SES contact: Lee Cale, 02 6272 5162, 0417 258 197




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              86
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


  BETTER REGULATION PARTNERSHIP WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
                AND DEREGULATION ON BIOSECURITY
 Key issues
        The biosecurity reforms have been nominated as a Better Regulation Ministerial Partnership
         between the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Minister for Health and
         Ageing and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation.
        The department and the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD) have been
         developing terms of reference for the partnership.
        The department provided draft terms of reference to DoFD on 27 May 2010.


 Key facts
        The partnership will focus on select aspects of the reforms with a view to reducing the
         regulatory burden on business.

Issue
Terms of reference for the partnership are still under development—including the level of
involvement by the health portfolio.
Suggested action
That you sign off the terms of reference for the partnership once they are fully developed, along with
a draft letter from you to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation.
Background
As part of the government’s regulatory reform program a deregulation group was established in
DoFD. Its aim is to improve the quality of regulation where regulation is necessary and to reduce it
where it is not.
The government agreed to a number of ministerial ‘partnerships’ to pilot the work of the
deregulation group, of which biosecurity is one. The intent is to make sure reforms proposed by the
department are consistent with the regulatory reform agenda being pursued by DoFD and reflect
best practice.
There are a number of reform activities underway to reduce the regulatory burden on business:
       amendments to legislation for imported food came into effect in February 2010, enabling the
        Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to enter into compliance agreements
        with importers. These agreements will formally recognise food safety management systems,
        thereby minimising unnecessary regulatory burdens on Australian food importers
       the Export Certification Reform Package is being delivered to implement improved delivery
        arrangements for AQIS inspection and certification services, promoting efficiencies and
        improving productivity by reducing the regulatory burden for exporters (see Volume 4,
        Significant Portfolio Priorities: ‘Export Certification Reform Package’)
       new biosecurity legislation is being drafted to replace the Quarantine Act 1908, with the
        objective of facilitating more effective biosecurity management by making the legislation
        simpler for both industry and the regulator (see Volume 4, Significant Portfolio Priorities:
        ‘Biosecurity Reforms’).
SES contact: Russell Phillips, 02 6272 5497, 0408 497 121




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              87
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                             BIOSECURITY ADVISORY COUNCIL
 Key issues
        The Biosecurity Advisory Council (BAC) is a non-statutory advisory body established to
         provide you with independent advice on biosecurity activities. It was established by the then
         minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, in response to recommendations 13 and 17 of the
         independent review into Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements (the Beale
         review).
        You are responsible for appointing the members of BAC and setting its terms of reference
         and priority work areas. BAC members’ terms of engagement are due to expire on
         31 December 2011.
        BAC is operating under interim terms of reference which will be reviewed once permanent
         biosecurity governance structures and legislation are established.
        BAC has been asked to provide advice on ways that risk creators and beneficiaries should
         contribute to national biosecurity activities and the development of a framework to
         establish a national exotic pest and disease list. It is due to provide its advice by
         February 2011.


 Key facts
        BAC was established on 1 January 2010. It consists of a chair, seven ordinary members and
         the Deputy Secretary of the Biosecurity Services Group as an ex officio member.
        BAC has formally convened four times and has held several teleconferences. The next
         meeting is scheduled for mid-October 2010.

Issue
BAC is a non-statutory advisory body established to provide you with independent advice on
biosecurity activities.
BAC is developing advice on its key work areas and is consulting broadly. It is due to provide its
advice by February 2011.
Suggested action
That you continue to support BAC and its current activities. Should any changes to BAC’s work
program be proposed by you, BAC needs to be advised as soon as possible.
That you do not change BAC’s membership at this time. Should you wish to change its membership,
BAC members’ terms of engagement allow membership to be terminated before the official end date
of 31 December 2011.
That you note an appointment process will need to be run to appoint new BAC members should you
wish to terminate their current terms of engagement prior to 31 December 2011. Detailed briefing
will be provided.
That you meet with BAC or its chair at your earliest possible convenience.
That you note you will be asked to consider the BAC’s annual report within the next three months.
Sensitivities
Appointments to BAC are considered ‘significant’ and you are required to consult with the
Prime Minister and the Cabinet on nominations. Members are appointed in consultation with state
and territory governments and relevant stakeholders.
There has been significant stakeholder interest in BAC’s activities. Animal Health Australia,
Plant Health Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation, intergovernmental committees, academia,
the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Industry and Investment NSW
and this department have met with BAC in relation to its work program.
Some stakeholders have expressed concern that BAC does not represent all stakeholders. BAC is not
a representative council, and members have been chosen based on their skills and experience.

                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               88
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Background
BAC’s interim terms of reference require it to provide the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry (or equivalent) with:
       coordinated, strategic risk-based policy advice on major biosecurity issues
       advice on biosecurity activities undertaken by the Commonwealth, state and territory
        governments, including the identification of areas which could benefit from increased
        cooperation
       advice on improving responses to incidents of biosecurity concern, including emergency pest
        and disease incursions and strategies to deal with invasive species either established or
        newly introduced
       advice on the efficacy of public biosecurity awareness and education campaigns
       advice on any other matter referred to it by the minister.
On 16 July 2010, Minister Burke asked BAC to pursue the following areas:
       the possibility of expanding the scope of the animal and plant emergency response
        agreements to include all plant, animal and industry sectors (for example, aquaculture) and
        cost recovery to fund risk-mitigation measures
       ways to address cross-sector pests and diseases not covered by current cost-sharing
        arrangements under the emergency response agreements (for example, weeds and pastures)
       options for broadening industry and community engagement in monitoring and surveillance
        (including increasing awareness of peri-urban landholders)—for example, the merits of a
        ‘biosecurity watch’ concept and associated education, training and awareness.
Minister Burke also asked BAC to work with the department on developing a framework, including
associated data and analytical systems, to support the move to a risk-based system.
SES contact: Nicola Hinder, 02 6272 5590, 0427 893 855




                                        CURRENT ISSUES
                                             89
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                           BIOSECURITY LEGISLATIVE CHANGES
 Key issues
        There are a number of proposed amendments to biosecurity and quarantine legislative
         instruments currently in progress.
        The amendments give effect to industry requests, meet commitments made by the then
         minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, rectify previous drafting errors and shortfalls, and take
         steps to ensure that Australian exports meet international standards.
        All instruments will require ministerial noting or approval.
        While these amendments are to existing quarantine and biosecurity legislative instruments,
         new biosecurity legislation is being developed (see Volume 3, Current Issues: ‘New
         biosecurity legislation’).

Issue
Current legislative changes being progressed include:
       amendments to the Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Regulations 1999 for the:
         chicken meat industry—to reset the Emergency Animal Disease Response levy to zero
         wine grape industry—to reduce the Plant Health Australia (PHA) levy rate to nil
         strawberry industry—to reduce the levy rate for research and development purposes
            and increase the PHA levy rate
       the introduction of new Export Control Orders to properly and more efficiently regulate
        conditions and restrictions for exporting wild game meat and poultry. These orders also
        necessitate a number of consequential amendments to existing instruments
       amendments to the Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Orders 2005 to insert an
        objective to ensure the humane treatment of animals, to align the orders with the 2007
        Australian meat standard, and to make the current voluntary arrangements for halal meat
        certification compulsory
       amendment to the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry (Exports of Livestock to Egypt)
        Order 2008 will be required to insert an additional port, feedlot and slaughterhouse in line
        with amendments being made to the memorandum of understanding between Australia and
        Egypt in regard to the slaughter of livestock
       amendments to the Imported Food Control Order 2001 to give effect to agreements
        between Australian and New Zealand ministers, bringing more foods traded between the
        two countries under the trans-Tasman mutual recognition arrangement.
Suggested action
That you note specific ministerial action (noting or approval) will depend on the nature of the
instrument and will be clearly outlined in the advice provided to you along with each instrument.
Sensitivities
Sensitivities largely relate to the timeliness of amendments as they:
        recognise that the chicken meat industry recently finished repaying its debt to the
         Commonwealth following two outbreaks of Newcastle disease in 2002 and should not
         continue repayments
        recognise the resignation of the Winemakers Federation of Australia from PHA
        ensure that annual liabilities of strawberry producers to PHA can be met
        introduce efficient and proper regulation of wild game meat and poultry exports—and
         therefore the maintenance of markets.
There are additional sensitivities relating to the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry (Exports of
Livestock to Egypt) Order 2008 due to negative media coverage of the live animal trade to Egypt and
concerns about animal welfare on arrival. The amendment may attract media attention.
SES contact: Russell Phillips, 02 6272 5497, 0408 497 121


                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              90
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                               DIMETHOATE AND FENTHION
 Key issues
        The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is reviewing the
         health risks of current uses of the insecticides dimethoate and fenthion. Primary Industries
         Ministerial Council (PIMC) members have been kept informed on this issue.
        Expert analysis suggests approved uses for pest control at or near harvest in some
         commodities may be withdrawn or restricted. Commodities ‘at risk’ include stone fruit,
         tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers, zucchini, blueberries and strawberries.
        The loss of a number of uses considered ‘at risk’ form part of quarantine protocols for
         interstate trade and would result in significant disruption to the supply of affected fruit to
         importing states unless alternative treatments are developed and adopted.


 Key facts
        The APVMA regularly reviews current uses of existing chemicals. The APVMA preliminary
         review findings for dimethoate and fenthion may be released by the end of 2010.
        Queensland has estimated that fresh produce worth $360 million will not meet the
         phytosanitary requirements of importing jurisdictions unless alternative measures to
         manage the pest risk, primarily of fruit fly, are found and adopted.

Issue
Reviews of the insecticides dimethoate and fenthion are nearing completion and are likely to result
in changes to approved uses for these chemicals on a number of commodities that have an edible
peel.
Suggested action
That you note that PIMC has requested updates on the progress of actions to minimise the trade
impacts arising from the reviews.
That you note the department will provide you with regular updates on this issue.
Sensitivities
Industry initially resisted engagement and action on this issue but has become focused with the
report from the APVMA nearing completion. The report will likely generate major concern among
industry and significant exposure of the pesticide registration processes and interstate biosecurity
regulatory system.
Dimethoate and fenthion are used to prevent the spread of regulated pests on fruit and vegetables
traded within Australia and exported to New Zealand and some Pacific Islands. Without the
development and adoption of alternative treatments to control these pests, there will be significant
disruption to supply of affected fruit and vegetables to areas including Victoria, South Australia,
Tasmania and Western Australia. A national response plan has been developed to identify actions
necessary to mitigate trade impact. It is supported by a Dimethoate Fenthion Review Coordination
Committee, which comprises of all Australian governments, Horticulture Australia Ltd, Plant Health
Australia and ‘at risk’ industries. The response plan, a fact sheet and Q&A are publicly available on
the internet (www.domesticquarantine.org.au).
SES contact: Lois Ransom, 02 6272 4888, 0439 860 589




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               91
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                               EMERGENCY ARRANGEMENTS
 Key issues
        Formal agreements are in place for the management of emergency pest and disease
         incursions. These agreements between the Australian and state and territory governments
         and most plant and animal industries are the foundation for national responses to plant and
         animal pest and disease outbreaks.
        The draft National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA) builds on these
         arrangements and is the foundation for biosecurity incidents that primarily affect the
         environment and/or social amenity. The NEBRA requires endorsement by COAG.
        Management arrangements are in place for emergency pest and disease incursions which
         cannot be managed under the formal national agreements.


 Key facts
        Formal national emergency response arrangements are in place for disease and pest threats
         to Australia’s livestock and plant production industries under the provisions of the
         Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) and the Emergency Plant Pest
         Response Deed (EPPRD).
        EADRA was ratified in 2002 and EPPRD in 2005.
        The arrangements do not cover all industries. Participation in the agreements is not
         mandatory as they seek to implement a partnership approach to biosecurity control.

Issue
EADRA, EPPRD and the draft NEBRA cover the responsibilities of parties, national response plans,
cost-sharing arrangements and responsibilities for implementing risk mitigation measures among
their provisions. While Australia’s emergency response arrangements are working well,
improvements could be made to eliminate some anomalies. For further information see Volume 4,
Significant Portfolio Priorities: ‘Emergency Arrangements’.
Suggested action
That you support the current draft of NEBRA to establish pre-agreed cost-sharing and
decision-making requirements to underpin responses to biosecurity incidents that primarily affect
Australia’s environment and social amenity.
**redacted**s.47C

                                                                                                 .
Sensitivities
A number of industries are not signatories to the emergency response agreements, including large
industries such as the horse industry and plantation timber industry. **redacted**s.47C




                .(see Volume 3, Current Issues: ‘Horse Disease Levy’).
Any proposed changes to existing arrangements will be closely scrutinised, particularly those that
could have financial implications for states/territories or industries.
**redacted**s.47C




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              92
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                                                                . These issues are
scheduled to be considered further at the Primary Industries Standing Committee meeting on
23 September 2010 before consideration by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council.
There are also claims for damages against the Commonwealth currently in the courts arising from the
management of the equine influenza incursion (see Volume 3, Current Issues: ‘EI Claims’). Any public
comments about seeking to improve our incursion management processes could be interpreted as
meaning there are deficiencies in the current systems and have the potential to be used in those
actions.
Background
There are well established governance arrangements for the management of an incursion. The peak
decision-making body is the National Management Group (NMG). It is chaired by the secretary of the
department and includes representatives from each state and territory and relevant industries
(where the incursion is covered by EADRA or EPPRD). NMG is able to authorise work up to a
predetermined expenditure level based on industry gross value of production to enable rapid
response to an incursion. However, any further funding is subject to expenditure approval processes
in jurisdictions.
EADRA or EPPRD include schedules for cost sharing between governments and industry for incursions
of given pests and diseases. Where there are significant public good aspects to managing an
incursion, the government proportion is higher (for example, 80 per cent or even 100 per cent).
Where the benefits are mainly private and accrue to the industry, the industry’s share of costs
increases. The Commonwealth pays 50 per cent of the government share in all instances, with the
balance divided between the states and territories.
SES contact: Nicola Hinder, 02 6272 5590, 0427 893 855




                                        CURRENT ISSUES
                                             93
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


     AUSTRALIA’S CAPACITY TO PREVENT OR RESPOND TO A SIGNIFICANT
                     EMERGENCY ANIMAL DISEASE
 **redacted**s.33Text deleted




 **redacted**s.33Text t deleted




.    .
**redacted**s.33




.Text deleted.
**redacted**s.33

       .
.         .
 **redacted**s.33

                                                         .
**redacted**s.33




                                                               .
SES contact: Andy Carroll, 02 6272 4644, 0417 284 706




                                        CURRENT ISSUES
                                             94
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                 DROSOPHILA SUZUKII (SPOTTED WING DROSOPHILA)
 Key issues
        Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila [SWD]) is a pest that attacks a range of soft-
         skinned fruits.
        In 2009, SWD was confirmed as present in North America, attacking a range of soft-skinned
         fruits that Australia imports.
        Australia introduced emergency measures to manage the risk of SWD being introduced on a
         range of fruit.
        Some stakeholders consider that the pest can attack hard-skinned fruit, and it should have
         been considered in the China apple import risk analysis (IRA).


 Key facts
        The pest can attack strawberries, cane berries (for example, raspberries and blackberries),
         stone fruit and table grapes. Commercial levels of damage could occur in regions suitable for
         the pest. It does not attack intact hard-skinned fruits (for example, apples and pears).
        Host fruit has not been imported without applying emergency measures.

Issue
In 2009 SWD was confirmed as a pest attacking a range of soft-skinned fruits in North America. Some
of these fruits are imported into Australia, which poses a risk and required emergency measures such
as mandatory methyl bromide fumigation and increased inspection to be introduced.
On 31 March 2010, the department commenced a pest risk analysis for SWD. The pest risk analysis
will identify import pathways and propose management options to mitigate the risk associated with
SWD in a range of commodities. Stakeholders will be able to provide comment on the draft report
once it becomes available.
Suggested action
No action is required at this stage.
Sensitivities
The emergency measures have placed a resource burden on United States exports (strawberry and
cherry), severely restricted a $60 million a year trade of table grapes, and will affect stone fruit,
which was recently approved for importation to Australia subject to specific quarantine measures
(see Volume 3, Current Issues: ‘Import Risk Analysis for stone fruit from the United States’). The
United States is concerned about the emergency measures and has hinted at retaliatory action.
The apple industry is concerned that SWD was not considered in the China apple import risk analysis.
However, there was no evidence at that time and there remains no evidence now to suggest that
intact hard-skinned fruits such as apples and pears can be infested by SWD. Biosecurity Services
Group has fully briefed the horticulture industry on the status of SWD.
The Senate initiated an inquiry into the matter in response to domestic stakeholders’ concerns. The
inquiry was postponed because of the election but may be re-referred to the Rural and Regional
Affairs and Transport References Committee once parliament resumes.
Background
Based on initial pest alerts from the United States which listed apples and pears as hosts for SWD,
our domestic industry now believes that the conditions for apple imports need to be reconsidered.
However, these early pest alerts from the United States were based on an English summary of
Japanese research which had not been fully translated. Full text translations show only damaged
apples can be attacked. The department has sent officers to the United States to confirm the status
of SWD and the suitability of emergency measures proposed by the United States.
SES contact: Vanessa Findlay, 02 6272 3050, 0407 895 813


                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              95
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                FUTURE POST-ENTRY QUARANTINE ARRANGEMENTS
 Key issues
        All five Australian Government animal and plant post-entry quarantine facilities have been
         leased since 2001. The leases are due to expire between 2010 and 2015. Further extensions
         on the lease periods for the major stations are either not possible or not assured.
        The department is preparing a detailed business case for future post-entry quarantine
         arrangements under the Two Stage Capital Works Approval Process, which will assess all
         options for future post-entry quarantine arrangements, including the potential for private
         sector involvement.
        The business case will be completed by early 2011 to enable consideration in the 2011–12
         Budget process.
        The establishment of interim arrangements or short-term extensions at existing sites, where
         required to ensure continuity of service provision, will also be addressed as part of the
         project.


 Key facts
        The government currently operates five post-entry quarantine facilities. Two facilities for
         plants (Eastern Creek and Knoxfield) and a range of species-specific animal facilities, which
         include cats and dogs (Byford, Eastern Creek and Spotswood), horses (Eastern Creek), live
         birds (Spotswood), hatching eggs (Torrens Island) and bees (Eastern Creek).
        The May 2010 Budget allocated funding of $3.9 million to complete the Second Pass
         business case (from within existing resources) in 2010–11.

Issue
The department is working closely with the Property and Construction Division of the Department of
Finance and Deregulation (DoFD) to prepare a detailed business case for future post-entry
quarantine arrangements. This business case will put forward fully costed options for future post-
entry quarantine arrangements, including detailed analysis and planning and specific facility design
issues, for government consideration.
Suggested action
That you note that further funding will be required to establish any new government-operated post-
entry quarantine facilities through budget supplementation or amending existing industry cost
recovery mechanisms.
That you note progress with scoping work on future post-entry quarantine arrangements, including
stakeholder and industry engagement.
Sensitivities
If the government approves the Second Pass case and provides funding to support future post-entry
arrangements, the proposal will need to be considered by the Public Works Committee of
Parliament. All public works for the Commonwealth that are estimated to cost more than $15 million
must be referred to the committee, which must approve the proposals before work can commence.
This process could take 12 months to complete.
Industry and stakeholder groups are likely to become increasingly active in seeking details of future
post-entry quarantine arrangements. Extensive industry engagement is being undertaken to
determine the likely future demand for, and nature of, imports requiring post-entry quarantine.
Background
DoFD has contracted Bill Ross and Associates to complete the detailed financial and property analysis
required in the business case.
SES contact: Peter Moore, 02 6272 5723, 0408 269 947


                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              96
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


  IMPLEMENTATION OF EQUINE INFLUENZA INQUIRY RECOMMENDATIONS
 Key issues
        In September 2007, the Hon. Ian Callinan AC was appointed to undertake an inquiry into the
         August 2007 outbreak of equine influenza (EI) in Australia.
        In June 2008, the Australian Government agreed to implement all 38 recommendations of
         the EI inquiry as soon as possible.
        To date, the department has implemented 33 of the 38 recommendations. Three have been
         overtaken by recommendations from the independent review of Australia’s quarantine and
         biosecurity arrangements (the Beale review) and two are incomplete—one relating to
         upgrades to quarantine facilities is underway, and the review of the import risk analysis
         (IRA) on the importation of horses will commence in 2012.
        Quarantine fees have been increased in response to the recommendations, and horse
         import numbers have decreased.


 Key facts
        Professor Peter Shergold AC was appointed in June 2008 to provide independent oversight
         of the government’s implementation of the recommendations. Professor Shergold has
         submitted five implementation assessment reports to the minister—all of which have been
         positive and supportive of the department’s efforts in implementing the recommendations.

Issue
Of the two outstanding recommendations:
        work is continuing on the inquiry’s recommendation concerning upgrades to government
         quarantine stations
        the other outstanding recommendation involves the review every two years of the IRA on
         the importation of horses from approved countries
            the IRA to be reviewed was completed in March 2010. Implementation of this
             recommendation will commence in 2012.
The department has comprehensively reviewed horse quarantine fees (recommendation 37). A
cost-recovery approach has been adopted and the revised fee of $196 a day came into effect on
1 December 2009 (the fee was $65 a day per horse prior to the fee review). Horse imports have
significantly decreased since December 2009. This is affecting the overall financial position for this
business line in the Biosecurity Services Group.
Suggested action
That you note progress with the implementation of EI recommendations and the impact of increased
quarantine fees on horse imports.
Sensitivities
The EI outbreak had a major impact on those involved in the horse industry and those reliant on the
industry for recreational or business activities. There have been calls by some in the industry for
government to reconsider the application of full cost recovery to quarantine for horse imports.
In late 2009, the industry supported a decision to temporarily suspend imports into Spotswood
Quarantine Station in Victoria to reduce costs. This decision was revisited at the April 2010 meeting
of the Horse Industry Consultative Committee. Further consideration was deferred until the
committee’s next meeting, scheduled to be held in October 2010. To reinstate horse imports into the
Spotswood Quarantine Station, significant upgrades would be required to address animal welfare
concerns, along with an assessment of business viability against volume of imports.
SES contact: Lee Cale, 02 6272 5162, 0417 258 197




                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                97
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                          IMPORT FEES AND CHARGES REVIEW
 Key issues
        Import clearance activities and the seaports program support the protection of Australia’s
         animal, plant and human health by processing imported cargo and maritime vessels to
         manage biosecurity risk, while facilitating efficient movement of cargo and maritime vessels.
         These services are cost recovered by the imposition of fees and charges on importers and
         vessel operators. Cost recovery for quarantine and food safety inspection services
         undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Australia New Zealand is provided for in the
         Quarantine Fees Determination 2005 and the Imported Food Control Regulations 1993.
        The department has commenced work on fee reviews for import clearance and seaport
         services. These were foreshadowed in the cost-recovery impact statements supporting
         previous fee changes effective from 1 July 2009.
        Although industry’s preference is that fees are reviewed on a three-year cycle, the cost-
         recovery impact statement for the 2009 fee review made it clear that the revised fees were
         being set for one year only.
        Some cost increases are expected to be incurred to maintain the existing delivery of
         biosecurity services and implement key business improvement initiatives.


 Key facts
        In consultation with industry, a comprehensive review of fees and charges took place in
         2009 for import clearance activities and seaport activities. The outcome of this review
         resulted in carefully targeted fee increases brought into effect on 1 July 2009 and a
         rationalisation of the existing fee base to simplify charging.
        The purpose of the fee increases on 1 July 2009 was to recover the operating costs for
         the 2009–10 financial year, repay the operating deficit, and return the industry liability
         accounts to surplus in accordance with the ‘Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
         (AQIS) Cost Recovery Policy’.
        Stronger than budgeted revenue contributed to a 30 June 2010 year-to-date operating
         surplus for import clearance activities and the seaports program. The surplus of
         $31.488 million has repaid the 30 June 2009 operating deficit of $9.911 million.

Issue
Potential adjustments to fees are being developed through detailed cost-modelling processes. A
targeted approach to identify costs and calculate required resources across all import clearance and
seaport activity will improve the transparency of fees in accordance with industry’s stated desire for
the development of more equitable and efficient revenue systems.
To ensure confidence in modelling and sufficient industry consultation, the earliest that the new fees
might be expected is the last quarter of 2010.
Suggested action
That you note that the scheduled reviews of fees and charges for import clearance activities and
seaports activities have commenced. You are required to table the determination, but this will not
occur before the last quarter of 2010.
Sensitivities
Industry may object to increased fees considering the better than expected position arising from
increased import trade and vessel volumes. Detailed communication with industry is a standard
component of the fee review process. The department will meet with industry through the
AQIS/Industry Cargo Consultative Committee and with other stakeholders as required.
SES contact: Tim Chapman, 02 6272 5445, 0419 127 710



                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              98
                    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT ON BIOSECURITY
 Key issues
        The Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) aims to strengthen the working
         partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, identify the
         roles and responsibilities of governments and outline the priority areas for collaborative
         effort to improve the national biosecurity system.
        The National Biosecurity Committee provides strategic leadership in managing national
         approaches to emerging and ongoing biosecurity policy issues across sectors. The
         committee is preparing for the implementation of the IGAB in anticipation of its
         endorsement by COAG.

 Key facts
        IGAB was endorsed by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and the Natural Resource
         Management Ministerial Council on 23 April 2010.
        IGAB is scheduled to be considered by COAG and would come into effect when it is signed
         by the Commonwealth and a minimum of five states and/or territories.
        It is proposed that the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA)
         will become the first deliverable under IGAB, and has been provided with
         IGAB for consideration by COAG.
Issue
On 23 April 2010, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and the Natural Resource Management
Ministerial Council endorsed the IGAB for consideration by COAG. The IGAB now requires
implementation.
Suggested action
**redacted**s.47B, s.47C




                .
Sensitivities
**redacted**s.47B, s.47C



                   IGAB will come into effect when it is signed by the Commonwealth and a minimum
of five states and/or territories. Industry and other relevant stakeholders have expressed concern
that they were not actively involved in the negotiation of IGAB, as it is a government-to-government
agreement. Throughout the negotiation of IGAB the department kept relevant stakeholders informed
of its progress. Industry and stakeholders will be consulted, where relevant, in implementing
individual activities under the IGAB.
Background
IGAB specifically addresses recommendations 9, 10 and 11 (in part) of the Beale review, and will also
be a mechanism to progress a number of other recommendations, including the development of a
national priority pest and disease list (recommendation 45) and increased Commonwealth
involvement in post-border monitoring and surveillance (recommendation 3). Within the
government, the current draft IGAB was endorsed by the then Minister for Health and Ageing, the
Hon. Nicola Roxon MP, the then Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, the Hon. Peter
Garrett MP and the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon. Tony Burke MP.
SES contact: Nicola Hinder, 02 6272 5590, 0427 893 855

                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              99
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                NATIONAL RESIDUE SURVEY
 Key issues
        The National Residue Survey (NRS) is an industry-funded operational unit within the Food
         Division of the Biosecurity Services Group. It manages national residue monitoring programs
         in accordance with the National Residue Survey Administration Act 1992 (the Act).
        Section 8 of the Act requires the NRS to submit an operational and expenditure plan to you
         as soon as practicable after the commencement of each financial year.
        Section 10 of the Act requires that, as soon as practicable after the end of each financial
         year, you provide an annual report to both houses of parliament setting out details of the
         activities of the NRS and financial accounts for the previous year.


 Key facts
        NRS residue monitoring programs are in place for over 20 animal commodities such as
         cattle, sheep, pig, fish and egg, and over 25 plant commodities such as wheat, canola,
         chick pea, apple and macadamia.
        Almost all programs are funded by legislated producer levies, with some industries funding
         programs via direct payments.
        Funds accumulated from levies and direct payments are held in the NRS Special Account and
         accounted for on an industry-by-industry basis. A yearly financial report is provided for each
         industry.

Issue
The NRS operational and expenditure plan and annual report require ministerial approval as soon as
practicable after commencement of the financial year.
Suggested action
That you consider and approve the NRS 2010–11 operational and expenditure plan in early October
and the 2009–10 annual report in mid-October.
Background
The NRS monitors residues of agricultural and veterinary chemicals and environmental contaminants
in Australian food commodities. The cost of this monitoring is largely industry-funded through levies
on the animal and plant commodities that are tested.
NRS residue monitoring facilitates Australia’s access to key export and domestic markets for
participating industries by underpinning industry quality assurance programs. Funding from the
Australian Government is used to provide advice on residues to government and to participate in
national and international food regulation committees such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
NRS programs include random, targeted and compliance monitoring of agricultural and veterinary
chemical residues and environmental contaminants in selected animal products (meat, egg, honey
and fish) and plant products (grain, oilseed and horticulture).
SES contact: Narelle Clegg, 02 6272 4523, 0400 331 682




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              100
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                              NEW BIOSECURITY LEGISLATION
 Key issues
        New biosecurity legislation is being developed to achieve greater national consistency and
         to facilitate more effective biosecurity management.
        The Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) is drafting new biosecurity legislation. If OPC
         drafting resources continue to be available (dependent on priorities within OPC) an
         exposure draft will be ready for release by the end of 2010.
        Release of an exposure draft requires government approval.


 Key facts
        The government accepted the Beale review’s recommendation to develop new legislation to
         replace the Quarantine Act 1908. It has provided funding in 2010–11 to progress the work.
        The legislation is being developed in partnership with the Department of Health and Ageing
         (DoHA) as the legislation covers human health as well as animal and plant issues.
        The Bill is currently being drafted. An exposure draft of the Bill will be released for public
         comment prior to its introduction into Parliament.

Issue
New biosecurity legislation is being drafted to replace the Quarantine Act 1908 as recommended by
the independent review into Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements (the Beale review).
Suggested action
That you note policy approval of an exposure draft will be required across the government, along
with approval for its release. Due to the broad effects of the reform, it will be important to engage
across portfolios, particularly with DoHA, the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and
the Arts and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
That you note additional policy approval may be required in the coming months relating to policy
that falls outside of the scope of the Beale review (for example, operational issues), where the Beale
review gives a range of policy options or if a divergence from the Beale review is desired.
You will be provided with detailed briefing to support your decision on reform legislation.
Sensitivities
As the new legislation will be a significant deviation from the current regulatory framework,
adequate consultation with stakeholders and the community will be critical. The exposure draft will
be the key mechanism for this consultation.
A 12-month period between Royal Assent and the commencement of the new legislation is planned.
This will allow for industry to put the necessary business systems in place, for operational systems to
be ready and for staff to be trained.
Background
On 19 February 2008 the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon. Tony Burke
MP, announced a major, independent review of Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity
arrangements. On 18 December 2008, Minister Burke released the review report and the
government’s preliminary response. The government has agreed to the drafting of the legislation and
has allocated funding in the 2010–11 Budget towards its development.
The majority of drafting instructions were sent to OPC in mid-2009 and drafting is underway. The
new legislation will deal with animal, plant and human health aspects of biosecurity.
Associated activities—such as the development of a regulatory impact statement and subordinate
legislation—have commenced.
SES contact: Russell Phillips, 02 6272 5497, 0408 497 121


                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               101
                   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


     PROPOSED AUSTRALIAN BIOFOULING MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS
 Key issues
           The department is developing the Australian Biofouling Management Requirements for
            implementation under the Quarantine Act 1908 and it is intended that these amendments
            will be incorporated into the new biosecurity legislation when it is developed.
           Under these requirements all vessels arriving in Australian waters will be required to be
            free of a suite of quarantinable biofouling species. A species risk assessment will inform
            the list of quarantinable biofouling species.
           The requirements are based on a risk–return approach that assesses and identifies risk
            vessels, targets verification and inspection resources accordingly, and uses transparent and
            objective decision-making procedures to manage biosecurity risks.


 Key facts
           On average, 15 000 international vessels arrive in Australian waters each year and
            detections of invasive marine species continue to occur. Detections are likely to increase
            with increased inspection effort.
           A regulatory impact statement (RIS) will consider costs and benefits and inform the final
            policy position. A RIS public consultation period is planned for November–December 2010.
           International biofouling measures are being developed through the International Maritime
            Organization (IMO).

Issue
To support implementation of the requirements, a species risk assessment, a RIS, and an on-arrival
vessel risk assessment tool have been developed. It is expected that implementation of the
requirements will occur in late 2011.
Suggested action
That you note an eight-week public consultation period commencing in November–December 2010
is anticipated, including the release of the species risk assessment and RIS. That you note there may
be an opportunity for a public announcement to launch the consultation period.
Sensitivities
The department has conducted extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders (including
petroleum, commercial shipping and port interests and the National Bulk Commodities Group) and
with government stakeholders within Australia. It is also engaged in the development of
international biofouling management guidelines through the IMO.
Industry has been supportive of the approach for the requirements to date, however, some
stakeholders are concerned that the states and the Northern Territory may implement biofouling
regulations independent of, and inconsistent with, the Commonwealth’s measures. An inconsistent
regulatory framework across jurisdictions and/or between jurisdictions and the Commonwealth
would increase costs for industry. The department continues to liaise closely with states and the
Northern Territory to achieve a consistent framework.
Background
The previous coalition government agreed, under the draft Intergovernmental Agreement on the
National System for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pest Incursions (Marine IGA), to
enact legislation to ‘ensure that vessels entering Australia are subject to agreed measures to
minimise the risk of introducing marine pests through biofouling’. The draft Marine IGA has now
been superseded by the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement and the
Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity, which are being developed as part of the
implementation of the Beale review.
SES contact: Jenny Cupit, 02 6272 5160, 0439 427 206

                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                102
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                            RISK ASSESSMENT OF GUAVA RUST
 Key issues
        A draft analysis is being finalised on the risk of guava rust (Puccinia psidii) entering and
         establishing in Australia.
        Guava rust infects a wide range of species in the Myrtaceae family of plants. Susceptible
         plants include willow myrtle, turpentine, ti tree, water gum, bottle brush, paper bark and
         lillypilly. These species are important for biodiversity values (including as food for koalas,
         gliders and possums), for amenity plantings, and for commercial forestry.
        An incursion of guava rust could have a very severe effect on native plant communities,
         production forests and plantations, and garden plants.


 Key facts
        The organisms causing guava rust are native to South and Central America.
        Guava rust has recently spread to Hawaii and Japan and may be in Indonesia.
        There are currently a number of quarantine measures in place to manage the risk of guava
         rust becoming established in Australia.

Issue
The department is undertaking a draft analysis on the risk of guava rust entering and establishing in
Australia. A release date of September 2010 is anticipated.
Suggested action
That you note the department is completing the risk analysis for guava rust and will review the
existing quarantine conditions if required.
Sensitivities
An outbreak of guava rust in Australia would be very serious, as the rust has a wide host range in the
family Myrtaceae, members of which form a substantial proportion of native bushland. An outbreak
of guava rust in native forests would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to control or eradicate.
Background
The most likely pathways for entry of guava rust is through nursery stock, seeds, cut flowers and
foliage. Host species of these products are prohibited entry into Australia from all countries known to
be infected with guava rust. Other potential pathways include spores adhering to imported cargo,
containers and packaging, fresh fruit, sawn wood, wood-based panels, and on the clothes of tourists.
In 2004, three shipments of Brazilian eucalyptus timber exported to Australia were ordered into
quarantine following the detection of rust spores identified as those of Puccinia psidii. Further
imports of timber of guava rust hosts from guava rust countries were suspended and a risk analysis
commenced to identify potential pathways and determine the risks posed by these pathways.
Only immature foliage of eucalypts is susceptible to guava rust, whereas foliage of species of bottle
brush, paper bark and lillypilly are susceptible for the life of the tree.
SES contact: Bill Magee, 02 6272 3220, 0407 935 236




                                           CURRENT ISSUES
                                                103
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                 SENATE INQUIRY—QUARANTINE AND BIOSECURITY
 Key issues
        On 23 June 2010, the Senate referred biosecurity and quarantine arrangements to the
         Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs for inquiry.
        The inquiry covers the adequacy of current arrangements, current and future resourcing
         and the implementation of the recommendations arising from the independent review of
         Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements (the Beale review).


 Key facts
        The department has not made a written submission at this point.
        The due date for submissions was 5 August 2010, but the Senate inquiry secretariat has
         advised late submissions are likely to be accepted given the election period intervened.
        The reporting date for the inquiry is 22 November 2010.

Issue
The Senate inquiry into biosecurity and quarantine arrangements is likely to be the subject of public
comment given the level of interest among stakeholders in biosecurity issues, such as the recent
debate surrounding the importation of apples from New Zealand and China.
Suggested action
That you note that the department will discuss with you what government action, if any, will be
taken in response to the inquiry, including whether or not the department will make a submission.
The department expects to be called to give evidence during public hearings.
Sensitivities
The department expects a number of stakeholders to make submissions to the inquiry and to give
evidence to the committee during public hearings. Stakeholders are likely to be concerned about the
lack of progress in implementing the recommendations of the Beale review and that the government
has not committed the level of funding to biosecurity that was recommended in the Beale review.
Background
The terms of reference for the inquiry are:
        the adequacy of current biosecurity and quarantine arrangements, including resourcing
        projected demand and resourcing requirements
        progress toward achievement of reform of Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
         export fees and charges
        progress in implementation of the Beale review recommendations and their place in meeting
         projected biosecurity demand and resourcing
        any related matters.
The Beale review provided its report to the government in September 2008. The government
released the report publicly in December 2008, along with its interim response agreeing in principle
to all 84 recommendations.
SES contact: Russell Phillips, 02 6272 5497, 0408 497 121




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              104
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


        PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION REVIEW OF THE RURAL RESEARCH AND
                    DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION MODEL
 Key issues
         The Productivity Commission is reviewing the model under which the 15 rural research and
          development corporations (RDCs) operate (see Volume 4, Significant Portfolio Priorities:
          ‘Rural Research and Development’ and Volume 7, Statutory Authorities and Portfolio
          Bodies). The review’s draft report is due in September 2010, with the final report due to the
          Australian Government by February 2011.
         The commission is likely to recommend significant changes to the RDC model. The
          department expects a strong reaction to the draft report.


 Key facts
         The then minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, announced the review on 2 December 2009.
         The inquiry received more than 150 submissions, most of which support the current model.
         In 2008–09 total spending by the RDCs was around $470 million, of which $218 million came
          from the government.

Issue
Since the mid-1990s productivity growth in Australia’s agriculture sector has slowed. With that in
mind, the government asked the Productivity Commission to examine the effectiveness of the RDC
model, the appropriateness of current funding levels and the arrangements for improving
productivity through research and development (R&D).
In discussions with the department the commission focused on the consistency and
comprehensiveness of R&D expenditure data, the level of administrative expenses, an evaluation of
R&D outcomes and the levy arrangements.
The department is supporting the inquiry by providing the commission with data. In its submission to
the inquiry it argued that:
       the RDC model is effective and represents a true partnership between the government and
        industry in encouraging investment in rural R&D
       given the need to strengthen productivity growth in the agriculture sector, and the high
        spillovers in rural R&D, the current joint industry–government formula is appropriate
       notwithstanding its strong support for the RDC model, the department believes that there
        are modifications that should be made to improve the outcomes for industry and the wider
        Australian community.
The department is liaising closely with the RDCs through the Council of Rural Research and
Development Corporations (a body comprising the chairs and chief executives of the 15 RDCs).
Suggested action
That you note there is likely to be a strong reaction to the findings in the commission’s draft report.
The department will brief you on the commission’s draft report and, following release of the final
report in February 2011, will coordinate a whole-of-government response for your consideration.
Sensitivities
Some organisations have expressed concerns that the commission’s findings may be used to justify a
reduction in public funding for rural R&D.
This item was included in the agreement between the government and the independent members
for Lyne and New England.
SES contact: Matt Worrell, 02 6272 3412, 0437 596 590




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               107
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                      NEW AND AMENDED AGRICULTURAL LEVIES
 Key issues
        The Australian Government received three submissions from horticultural industries and
         two from meat and livestock industries for new or amended levies that will require your
         consideration.
        The submissions are for a new research and development (R&D) levy for the ginger industry,
         and amended levies for the mushroom, nashi, goat and egg industries.
        These industries are keen to have their submissions considered as soon as possible.


 Key facts
        The department earns revenue from a number of charges and levies imposed at the request
         of primary producers. In 2008–09, total tax revenue from these agricultural levies was
         $597 million. The revenues are provided to industry bodies to undertake R&D and/or
         marketing activities.

Issue
The new and amended levy proposals are:
Nashi—reduction of R&D levy
On 9 March 2010 Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) forwarded a submission by the Australian
Nashi Growers Association (ANGA) proposing a reduction to zero of the R&D levy on nashi sold to the
fresh or export markets, or for juicing or processing. Accumulated nashi R&D levy reserves currently
held by HAL are sufficient to fund anticipated R&D needs for at least four years. ANGA considers it
prudent to draw down the levy reserves by setting the rate to zero until they reduce to a more
manageable level.
Ginger—new R&D levy
On 23 February 2010 the Australian Ginger Growers Association requested a new R&D levy on ginger
payable to the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. The levy would be on the
sale of fresh ginger, seed ginger, organic ginger and ginger for processing, to be collected at the first
domestic point of sale. Exemptions would apply to fresh ginger sold on the export market, ginger
sold directly to the public through farmers markets and roadside stalls, and seed ginger used by seed
producers to grow their own ginger. The levy on ginger growers applied at a rate of 0.5 per cent is
expected to generate annual collections of approximately $78 000, plus matching Commonwealth
payments.
Mushroom—increase to current levy cap
On 9 March 2010 HAL forwarded a submission from the Australian Mushroom Growers Association
to raise the mushroom levy exemption limit (to increase the cap) specified in the agaricus mushroom
levy regulations from 250 000 kilograms to 370 000 kilograms of spawn produced. This limit provides
an exemption from the levy for spawn produced over the specified weight. The aim of the change is
to make the payment of levy on agaricus mushrooms equitable among producers. The additional
collection from increasing the cap would result in a potential increase of $324 000 for marketing and
R&D—$260 000 from an increase in levy collections and $64 500 in additional Commonwealth
matching payments (for the R&D component).
Goats—change proportion of levy components
On 4 March 2010 the Goat Industry Council of Australia provided a submission to reapportion the
goat transaction levy and increase the R&D component of the levy from 10.5 to 16.7 cents, with a
corresponding decrease in the marketing component from 16.7 to 10.5 cents. This change in levy
components will increase the levy income for R&D from $211 000 to $335 000. Matching
government funding is paid on R&D expenditure and is capped at $260 000. These additional R&D
funds would address the supply chain issues related to the goat industry.


                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               108
                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Laying chickens—increase in R&D component
In March 2009 the Australian Egg Corporation Limited proposed a two-step increase in the R&D
component of the laying chickens levy, initially from 7.2 to 10 cents and then from 10 to 13.5 cents.
Regulations were amended to increase the levy from 7.2 to 10 cents from 1 December 2009, the
maximum allowed under the Primary Industries (Excise) Act 1999. An amendment to the Act to
increase the levy cap to more than 10 cents is required before regulations can be made to further
increase the levy to 13.5 cents. The proposed 30 cent cap will enable the levy to be increased in the
future without having to revise the Act again. The Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Amendment Bill
was introduced into the House of Representatives on 26 May 2010 but was not passed before the
election was called, and has since lapsed. Ministerial approval will be required to reintroduce the Bill
into the new parliament.
Suggested action
That you consider the submissions for new or altered levies for the horticultural, goat and egg
industries as soon as practicable. The department will advise you on each of the proposed changes.
Sensitivities
Once an agricultural industry has applied for a new or amended levy, it is generally keen to have it
start as soon as practicable.
Background
Levies help fund industry marketing, R&D, management of animal and plant health issues, and other
activities. The funds collected are paid to R&D corporations or industry-owned companies under
enabling legislation. The Australian Government provides matching payments for R&D expenditure
up to 0.5 per cent of the industry’s gross value of production.
New levy applications are considered under the Levies Principles and Guidelines (LPGs), prepared by
the Levies Revenue Service in the department. The LPGs require that, for a proposal to be considered
by the government, industry must show there is majority support from actual or potential levy
payers. The guidelines also require a formal proposal for a new levy to be publicly advertised and a
six-week period for the government to receive any objections.
No objections were received to the submissions for new or amended horticultural levies or the goat
levy proposal. One written objection was received for the laying chickens levy submission but it did
not affect the department’s assessment. The department has assessed each submission as meeting
the LPGs.
SES contacts:
      Crops, Horticulture and Wine
       Peter Ottesen, 02 6272 3060, 0419 732 043
      Livestock Industries and Animal Welfare
       Simon Murnane, 02 6272 5413, 0408 482 065




                                          CURRENT ISSUES
                                               109
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                           STATUTORY FUNDING AGREEMENTS
 Key issues
        There are nine industry-owned companies (IOCs) that coordinate and fund research
         activities for their industry sectors under Statutory Funding Agreements (SFAs). These
         companies are funded through industry-agreed levies on farmers, which are matched by
         Australian Government funding.
        The SFAs of the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) and Meat & Livestock
         Australia Limited (MLA) require renewal by 1 December 2010 and 1 January 2011,
         respectively, to maintain their government and industry funding. The department has
         started renegotiating these SFAs.
        The SFAs of Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) and Australian Pork Limited (APL) do not
         expire but are being renegotiated to strengthen governance requirements.
        The new HAL SFA has been drafted and the HAL board has indicated it is ready to agree to
         the revised SFA. Negotiations have begun on the APL SFA.


 Key facts
        The new SFAs for AMPC and MLA will address the outcomes of the performance reviews
         undertaken for each company in 2010.
        The HAL and APL SFAs came into effect in 2001 and are out of date. The proposed new HAL
         SFA addresses a number of performance and governance issues identified in the HAL 2009
         performance review. A performance review of APL will be undertaken this year and the
         outcomes will be taken into account in the new SFA. The new APL SFA will also address the
         need for increased transparency around APL’s governance, financial reporting and industry
         representative function. APL is the only IOC with this representative function.
        All new SFAs require IOCs to demonstrate strong accountability and transparency.
        The SFAs with LiveCorp and Australian Wool Innovation were renegotiated and signed in
         June 2010.

Issue
Both AMPC and MLA have been subject to recent performance reviews. The outcomes of these are
being taken into account in the renegotiation of their SFAs. These SFAs will be submitted for your
consideration in October 2010.
The SFAs are being renegotiated with fixed terms in line with best practice and to help drive
performance improvements. The governance frameworks in the HAL and APL SFAs need to be
updated to meet current best business practices and to help drive performance improvements.
APL is reluctant to meet the obligations in its current SFA for a performance review this year and is
suggesting this be held over until 2013 under the renegotiated SFA. The department’s position is that
six years between performance reviews is unacceptable and inconsistent with best practice in the
management of public monies. This could prolong the negotiation of a new fixed term SFA.
Suggested action
That you sign the new SFAs for AMPC, MLA, HAL and APL when they are agreed with each company.
Sensitivities
Failure to approve the SFAs for AMPC and MLA could result in Australian Government funding and
industry levies collected by the government not being able to be passed on to the companies. This
could lead to a hiatus in support for industry-based research and development funded by these
companies and is against their industries’ wishes that these SFAs be renewed for a further fixed term.
The HAL and APL SFAs do not currently have sunset clauses and the introduction of fixed-term
agreements is currently being negotiated with industry and the IOCs.




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              110
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Background
There are nine SFAs between the Australian Government and the IOCs. For details of the IOCs see
Volume 7, Statutory Authority and Portfolio Bodies.
The SFAs enable the IOCs to receive statutory levies collected from the industries by the government
and, in the case of seven of these IOCs, also to obtain Commonwealth matching contributions for
eligible research and development expenditures.
Renewal of SFAs is an ongoing task for the government and is an opportunity to drive governance
and performance improvements by these companies to meet best practice standards and
stakeholder expectations.
SES contact: Matt Worrell, 02 6272 3412, 0437 596 590




                                         CURRENT ISSUES
                                              111
SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         REVIEW OF THE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY
                 CONSERVATION ACT 1999—HAWKE REVIEW
 Key issues
        A review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
         was completed in line with section 522A of the Act. Dr Allan Hawke led the independent
         review and a report was tabled in Parliament on 21 December 2009.
        On 21 December 2009 the Australian Government committed to providing a response in
         2010. The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) has
         developed a draft response in consultation with all departments.
             **redacted**s.34 deleted




 Key facts
        DEWHA is leading the development of the Australian Government Response to the
         Independent Review of the EPBC Act.
        The department has provided input to the draft government response.
        .**redacted**s.34                                                                      .
Issue
Overall, the recommended changes have the potential to improve the operation of the EPBC Act. Key
improvements involve streamlining client services, including through online processing for simple
matters, expanded use of strategic assessments and bioregional planning, and increased
transparency in decision making. The changes also signal a stronger interventionist role for the
government over a broader range of issues, including the introduction of a National Environment
Commissioner, and the Environment Reparation Fund and cost recovery mechanisms.
**redacted**s.34



                                               .
**redacted**s.34



                                                                                                .
Portfolio issues relating to biosecurity are being worked through with DEWHA. Live animal and plant
import assessment functions are proposed to be transferred from the EPBC Act to the new
biosecurity legislation. Details of the transfer will require negotiation at a departmental and
ministerial level.
Suggested action
That you note that the department will provide further advice on the details of the proposed
response and implications for the portfolio stakeholders as information becomes available.




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                DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Sensitivities
**redacted**s.34


                                                                    .
SES Contact: Ian Thompson, 6272 4623, 0417 663 892




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                 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                           CARING FOR OUR COUNTRY ISSUES
 Key issues
        Under Caring for our Country the Australian Government invests in projects each year to
         protect and improve Australia’s natural resources and environment against a set of
         outcomes.
        The investment priorities and processes for 2011–12 will be provided for you and the
         Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts to consider jointly.
        Only a small budget is available for investments in 2011–12 and the following year. This will
         need to be taken into account when setting priorities, as will the issue of some areas
         requiring further investment.
        Caring for our Country has been in place for more than two years and a mid-term review is
         now required to assess its progress, effectiveness and achievements, and to advise the
         government on potential short-term and long-term improvements.
        A ministerial decision will be needed as soon as practicable after the election so
         consultations can begin and the review completed by mid-2011.
        Caring for our Country annual report cards are required to inform the wider community
         about the program’s progress and achievements. The report card for 2008–09 has been
         prepared but not yet released.


 Key facts
        In September 2008 the projected five-yearly outcomes to be achieved under Caring for our
         Country, including the commitment to annual report cards, were approved by the then
         prime minister.
        The previous business plan (2010–11) sought proposals for competitive and directly
         targeted projects. This helped identify projects that would best tackle immediate pressures
         on the environment and on the agriculture and fisheries sectors.
        A range of multi-year projects have been approved from the 2009–10 and 2010–11 business
         plans. Some are funded until June 2013.

Issue
The government is committed to keeping the Australian community informed about the progress of
Caring for our Country through an annual report card. The report card for 2008–09 has been
completed and is awaiting release.
There is likely to be a small amount of funding available for Caring for our Country investments in
2011–12. The funding is likely to be well below half of the budget available through the previous
business plan ($171 million). It will be important to manage community expectations about Caring
for our Country and future calls for project proposals. A well-designed, targeted approach to
remaining investments will help in this regard.
A mid-term review of Caring for our Country has been scheduled for the next 12 months. The review
will consider the program’s progress, effectiveness and achievements and provide advice to the
government on potential short-term and the long-term improvements. To finalise the review by mid-
2011, the public consultation phase will need to begin in October/November 2010. The review will
provide a platform for considering future natural resource management initiatives beyond the
current funding, which ends in 2012–13.




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                  DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


Suggested action
That you consider:
       releasing the 2008–09 report card as soon as possible, particularly as the 2009–10 report
        card is expected to be submitted for approval in December 2010
       the investment approaches and priorities for the 2011–12 business plan
       the scope of the mid-term review, and the associated public consultation phase in
        September 2010.
You will also need to consult with the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts
about Caring for our Country’s areas of joint responsibility.
Sensitivities
There is community concern that the 2008–09 annual report card has not yet been released. The
report itself provides an overview of Caring for our Country’s progress and achievements. Additional
information will be available on the website for the stakeholders seeking more detail.
The business plan and assessment process have been criticised in some sections of the community as
being too complex, too competitive and not well suited to the needs of Landcare and sustainable
agriculture. The department is taking this into account in preparing business plan options for your
consideration.
The mid-term review has raised a high degree of interest from a number of key stakeholder groups,
including regional natural resource management organisations and the states, which are keen to
provide feedback.
This item was included in the agreement between the government and the independent members
for Lyne and New England.
Background
Caring for our Country protects the Australian environment by focusing on six national priority areas.
In its first five years, the program will provide more than $2 billion to support organisations and
landholders working on these priorities.
It is proposed that the mid-term review will cover all the elements of Caring for our Country,
including, but not limited to: the business plan; the six national priority areas for investments; clear
and measurable outcomes and targets; the integration of programs; regional delivery arrangements,
administrative processes, monitoring and evaluation; and engagement with stakeholders.
SES contact: Ian Thompson, 02 6272 4623, 0417 663 892




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SIGNIFICANT MEETINGS AND EVENTS
                                              DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


                                     SIGNIFICANT MEETINGS AND EVENTS BEFORE 31 DECEMBER 2010
The following table contains detail on some significant meetings/events scheduled to be held before 31 December 2010 that you may wish to attend.
         Meeting/event                  Date and place                                   Relevant information                                     Contact
Queensland Landcare               15–17 September 2010,     You have been invited to speak at the Queensland Landcare Conference.            Desley Darby
Conference                        Caloundra, QLD            The conference will be attended by up to 250 delegates. It is expected half of   02 6272 3355
                                                            the delegates will be volunteer landcarers, with the remaining delegates
                                                            drawn from all levels of government, regional bodies, corporate sponsors,
                                                            agricultural industry peak bodies and not-for-profit groups.
                                                            The National Landcare Facilitator will be speaking at the closing session.
AgForce Queensland 2010 State     16–17 September 2010,     You have been invited to speak at the conference.                                Desley Darby
Conference—Landscape,             Rockhampton, QLD          400 primary producers are expected to attend.                                    02 6272 3355
Leadership and Learning
                                                            The conference will give an update on relevant issues and focus on the future
                                                            of agriculture, including opportunities and challenges that may influence in
                                                            the future.
Royal Melbourne Show              18–28 September 2010,     Your possible role has not been finalised.                                       Peter Ottesen
                                  Melbourne, VIC            Largest and longest running annual event in Victoria—attracts around half a      02 6272 3060
                                                            million visitors annually, with 2010 being the 155th show.                       Simon Murnane
                                                            The show rewards and recognises excellence by showcasing Victorian               02 6272 5413
                                                            produce through events, competitions and associations in agricultural and
                                                            rural communities.
Henty Machinery Field Days        21–23 September 2010,     Your possible role has not been finalised.                                       Peter Ottesen
                                  Henty, NSW                The field days are run by farmers and supported by Westpac, and showcase         02 6272 3060
                                                            products and services used in cropping, livestock, horticulture and forestry     Simon Murnane
                                                            industries, as well as experts and farming success stories.                      02 6272 5413
                                                            Attracts around 50 000 farmers and contractors.




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                                           DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         Meeting/event              Date and place                                  Relevant information                                    Contact
Kondinin Farming Ahead 2010    22–23 September 2010,   It is expected you will be invited to open and/or speak at the conference.      Mark Gibbs
Conference                     Sydney, NSW             The department is a major sponsor of the conference.                            02 6272 4298
                                                       400 delegates from industry, government, regional communities and grower
                                                       groups are expected to attend.
Agrifood Skills Australia      23 September 2010,      You have been invited to deliver the opening address.                           Matthew Worrell
National Conference 2010       Melbourne, VIC          200 delegates from industry, government, regional communities and               02 6272 3412
                                                       academia are expected to attend.
Natural Heritage Ministerial   29 September,           The Natural Heritage Ministerial Board was formed jointly by the Minister for   Ian Thompson
Board meeting                  27 October,             Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts and the Minister for              02 6272 4623
                               24 November 2010,       Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Meetings usually occur once per
                               Canberra, ACT           parliamentary sitting period and provide a mechanism for ministers to make
                                                       decisions jointly and receive face-to-face briefings on the Caring for our
                                                       Country program.
Australian Forest Growers      10–13 October 2010,     You have been invited to speak at the conference.                               John Talbot
National Conference 2010       Mount Gambier, SA       The department is sponsoring the event and has provided $22 000 in grant        02 6272 3847
                                                       funding for the conference under the Promoting Australian Produce (Major
                                                       Events) program.
                                                       The event has the theme ‘Integrating Our Resources’ and aims to discuss the
                                                       challenge facing all involved in land management. Speakers will be from the
                                                       farm and commercial forestry sectors, academia, and state agencies.
Food Policy Working Group      11 October 2010,        You have been invited to deliver the opening address to the inaugural           Richard Souness
                               (tentative date, TBC)   meeting of this strategic policy advisory group (established in July 2010).     02 6272 4899
                               Canberra, ACT           Comprising leading figures from across the supply chain, the meeting is an
                                                       opportunity to gain valuable advice on strategic food policy issues.
                                                       Refer to Volume 2, Urgent Issues: ‘Food Policy Working Group’.




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                                             DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         Meeting/event                Date and place                                 Relevant information                                       Contact
Third APEC Ocean-Related          11–12 October 2010,   The previous minister was invited to the meeting. Under the previous               Ian Thompson
Ministerial Meeting (AOMM3)       Paracas, Peru         government the environment minister was the lead (however, you may wish            02 6272 4623
                                                        to reconsider this arrangement).
                                                        The themes to be discussed during the meeting are:
                                                               the oceans in food security
                                                               sustainable development and protection of the maritime
                                                                environment
                                                               fair and equitable trade
                                                               effects of climate change on the oceans.
Katherine Regional Outlook        13 October 2010,      You have been invited to speak at the conference.                                  Annette Blyton
conference (coordinated by        Katherine, NT         Regional Outlook conferences focus on regional agricultural and economic           02 6272 2222
ABARE–BRS)                                              issues, delivered by ABARE–BRS and local speakers.
                                                        This is the final of seven regional Outlook conferences held across Australia in
                                                        2010. The annual national Outlook conference was held in March in
                                                        Canberra.
Asia–Pacific Economic             16–17 October 2010,   You have been invited to attend by Japan, the host of APEC in 2010.                Sara Cowan
Co-operation (APEC) Ministerial   Niigata, Japan        Other APEC agriculture and trade ministers from the 21 APEC economies are          02 6272 4852
Meeting on Food Security                                expected to attend.
                                                        This is the first APEC meeting of agriculture ministers.
Australia–Russia Joint            19–20 October 2010,   You are expected to chair the meeting.                                             Andrew Pearson
Commission on Trade and           Canberra, ACT (TBC)   Participation in a separate bilateral meeting with the Russian Agriculture         02 6272 3548
Economic Cooperation (JCTEC)                            Minister would provide a significant opportunity to consolidate relations and
                                                        press for greater market access with Russia.
                                                        Departmental representatives attended JCTEC in Moscow in 2008.




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                                            DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         Meeting/event               Date and place                                 Relevant information                                   Contact
Victorian Landcare Forum         19–20 October 2010,   The department expects that the Victorian Landcare Network will invite you     Desley Darby
                                 Halls Gap, VIC        to speak at the Victorian Landcare Forum.                                      02 6272 3355
                                                       It is expected that up to 120 delegates from across Victoria will attend,
                                                       including the Australian Government funded Regional Landcare Facilitators,
                                                       state-funded Regional Landcare Coordinators, and representatives from
                                                       government, regional bodies and community Landcare groups.
Australia Arab Chamber of        25–26 October 2010,   The department expects that the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and         Andrew Pearson
Commerce and Industry Business   Melbourne, VIC        Industry will invite you to attend and possibly address the forum.             02 6272 3548
Forum                                                  The theme of the forum is mapping the prospects for Australia's trade and
                                                       investment links with the Arab countries.
                                                       Senior officials and political leaders from Australia and the Arab world are
                                                       expected to attend.
Australian Food and Grocery      27 October 2010,      You have been invited to speak at the forum.                                   Richard Souness
Council—speech at the            Canberra, ACT         150 CEOs and other senior representatives from most of Australia’s major       02 6272 4899
industry/government dialogue                           manufacturers and retailers are expected to attend the forum and dinner.
forum
NAB Agribusiness Awards for      28 October 2010,      The department could investigate the opportunity for you to be involved in     Lee Nelson
Excellence 2010                  Melbourne, VIC        the awards opening ceremony.                                                   02 6272 4788
                                                       Australia’s Farming Future is sponsoring the NAB Agribusiness Awards and
                                                       the department will provide a delegate for the judging panel.
                                                       The event has the theme of ‘Recognising excellence, innovation and
                                                       leadership’. About 400 senior executives from the primary production and
                                                       processing industries will attend.
Ministerial roundtable at the    4–5 November 2010,    You have been invited to attend a two-day roundtable in the Netherlands.       Sara Cowan
Hague Conference on              Hague, Netherlands    Ministers from several European and developing countries are expected to       02 6272 4852
Agriculture, Food Security and                         attend.
Climate Change
                                                       The roundtable will develop a roadmap for agriculture to address global food
                                                       security and climate change challenges.




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                                              DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         Meeting/event                  Date and place                                  Relevant information                                   Contact
Primary Industries Ministerial      4–5 November 2010,     You will chair both meetings.                                                  Cathrine
Council (PIMC) and Natural          Sydney, NSW            30 ministers and senior executives are expected to attend PIMC, and            Stephenson
Resource Management                                        50 ministers and senior executives are expected to attend NRMMC.               02 6272 4886
Ministerial Council (NRMMC)
                                                           A ministers-only dinner will be held on 4 November 2010.
                                                           (See Volume 3, Current Issues: ‘Primary Industries Ministerial Council and
                                                           Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council’.)
Australian Landcare Council         15–16 November 2010,   You have been invited to address the ministerial advisory council meeting      Desley Darby
quarterly meeting (and field trip   Launceston, TAS        and/or attend the field trip with members.                                     02 6272 3355
to see on-ground natural                                   Up to 18 sitting Australian Landcare Council members are expected to attend.
resource management activities
undertaken by the Tamar group)
Australian Dairy Industry Council   26 November 2010,      You have been invited to attend the Australian Dairy Industry Council          Simon Murnane
Breakfast                           Melbourne, VIC         Breakfast (a speaking role could be arranged at the your request).             02 6272 5413
                                                           The breakfast is a major annual stakeholder event and one of the main
                                                           networking events for the dairy industry.
                                                           200 industry representatives from all sectors of the dairy industry are
                                                           expected to attend. The breakfast is followed by Dairy Australia’s annual
                                                           general meeting.
B Awards (Biosecurity Awards)       TBC–November 2010,     You have been invited to present the awards at a presentation dinner.          Jane Briggs
                                    Canberra, ACT          The awards normally attract significant media coverage.                        02 6272 5956
                                                           The Biosecurity Awards replace the Q Awards and acknowledge individuals,
                                                           community groups and organisations that have contributed to Australian
                                                           quarantine and biosecurity.




                                                                   CURRENT ISSUES
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                                            DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY


         Meeting/event                Date and place                                    Relevant information                                    Contact
Australia New Zealand Food       3 December 2010,          You are a member of ANZFRMC and have the opportunity to actively engage         Richard Souness
Regulation Ministerial Council   Adelaide, SA              in food regulation decision-making processes through involvement on the         02 6272 4899
(ANZFRMC) meeting                                          ANZFRMC. The meeting is chaired by the Australian Government Minister for
                                                           Health and Ageing, or the minister’s delegate.
                                                           ANZFRMC is responsible for developing domestic food regulation policy.
                                                           This is the 16th meeting of the ministerial council.
International Grains Council     8 December 2010,          You have the opportunity to open the International Grains Forum, which is       Peter Ottesen
                                 Perth, WA                 being held in conjunction with the International Grains Council meeting on      02 6272 3060
                                                           7 December 2010.
                                                           400 guests including overseas government representatives and international
                                                           traders are expected to attend.
                                                           The meeting and forum are being co-hosted by the department and the
                                                           Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia.
Forest and Wood Products         Meeting required          You chair the meeting.                                                          John Talbot
Council                          before the end of 2010.   The Forest and Wood Products Council was established in November 2000 as        02 6272 3847
                                 Location at the your      a result of the Forest and Wood Products Action Agenda (2000) and was
                                 discretion.               formalised by the Australian Government under the Regional Forest
                                                           Agreement Act 2002 subsection 11. The Act requires the council to meet
                                                           twice a year. It provides a high-level forum for advice, information exchange
                                                           and linkages between the Australian Government and the forest industries.




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