Live animal export rules to be reviewed by Productivity Commission inquiry

Live animal export rules to be reviewed by Productivity Commission inquiry
Daniel Hurst Political correspondent

Focus of inquiry will be ‘unnecessarily burdensome, complex or redundant’ regulations in the agricultural sector, including environmental regulations

Live animal export rules and environmental measures will be reviewed as part of a Productivity Commission inquiry into regulations affecting Australian farm businesses.

The Turnbull government has set the commission a nine-month deadline for the inquiry into “unnecessarily burdensome, complex or redundant” regulations in the agricultural sector.

Terms of reference published on Friday show the commission will consider “removing or reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens where doing so will/can contribute to improved productivity for farm businesses as well as the wider economy”.

Its focus includes “regulatory arrangements affecting access to new technologies, investment opportunities, land tenure, relevant environmental protection and native vegetation laws, animal welfare and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System” (Escas).

Escas, which was introduced in 2011 after concerns about cruelty to animals overseas, requires Australian exporters to have control of all supply chain arrangements for livestock transport, management and slaughter.

The review will also consider “whether Australia’s farm export competitiveness can be improved by minimising duplication between domestic regulation and importing country requirements”.

It will look at national, state and local government regulations “and whether there is scope for better coordinated action across governments to reduce unnecessary overlap”.

The treasurer, Scott Morrison, and the agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, announced the inquiry details in a joint media release.

They said regulation had important objectives, including protecting consumers from unsafe food, protecting the environment and supporting the export of goods, but “poorly implemented and administered regulation and the cumulative impact of regulation can have adverse effects on farm businesses”.

The government has previously foreshadowed the review in its agricultural competitiveness white paper. Morrison and Joyce said the commission would consult broadly.

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