Plant Products Pathway Trial
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Plant Products Pathway trial?
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has developed a new science–based tool which will enable Biosecurity officers to make informed decisions on inspection requirements for plant products based on supplier compliance history. This tool uses the statistical processes developed by the Australian Centre for Excellence in Risk Analysis (ACERA) to check the compliance history of a supplier, identify which suppliers qualify for reduced number of inspections, and calculate when inspections are required.
A three month pilot trial was successfully conducted on all green coffee bean consignments imported into Melbourne between February and May 2012. The trial showed that importers who sourced their product from compliant suppliers received fewer inspections. The electronic system for managing the trial has also functioned effectively.
What’s happening now?
A national trial of the Plant Products Pathway tool will commence in July 2012. The trial will be expanded to include five low risk plant products. These include:
- Green coffee beans
- Dried apricots
- Dried and fresh dates
- Hulled sesame seed
The national trial will take place over a 6-12 month period and will be rolled out across the regions in stages commencing in the South East (Victoria) region on 16 July 2012. This will be followed by the Central East (New South Wales) region on 30 July 2012, North East (Brisbane) on 13 August 2012, and all other ports of arrival on 3 September 2012. If the national trial is successful then additional low risk commodities can be added in the future.
Why are you reducing the frequency of inspection on imported plant products?
DAFF is currently implementing a number of large reforms across Australia’s Biosecurity system. Core features of the current Biosecurity Reform include the development of “Risk Return” based resource allocation, a focus on science and evidence–based risk assessment, and improved partnerships with our stakeholders. By analysing the risks associated with imported commodities across the entire Biosecurity continuum, DAFF has been able to identify better intervention points along these pathways and reduce on–arrival inspection rates for low–risk products. By freeing up these inspection resources, more high risk commodity pathways and data analysis can be targeted to better protect Australia from quarantine pests and diseases.
DAFF Biosecurity has conducted a review of the risks associated with a number of imported plant commodities. As part of this review, DAFF undertook a statistical analysis of import data collected over the last 5 years to determine the quarantine failure rates of these import pathways. The result of this study was the scientific identification of low–risk commodities, including green coffee beans, dried apricots, dried and fresh dates, and hulled sesame seed.
These plant products were found suitable for reduced intervention because they meet 3 key criteria:
- They rarely harbour pests of concern
- They have low-risk end uses, such as for processing or human consumption.
- They show low inspection failure rates with quarantine compliance strongly linked to the supplier, allowing us to clearly identify and reward good suppliers with a reduced inspection rate, and continue monitoring less–experienced suppliers.
What will change for importers of the products included in the trial?
Green coffee beans, dried apricots, dates and hulled sesame seed imported into Australia will be inspected according to supplier compliance history determined by the inspection results of historic consignments. The statistical method employed will take into account any interceptions of quarantine concern and the number of import consignments each supplier has previously imported into Australia.
This means that suppliers with insufficient compliance history to demonstrate a “clean” pathway will continue to have their products inspected at 100 per cent.
Suppliers that have demonstrated compliance over a number of consignments will received a reduced frequency of inspection. Historic imports will be considered so if a supplier has already qualified for reduced rate of inspection the importer will see changes immediately.
When a non-compliance is detected at inspection that supplier will return to 100 per cent inspection for several consignments.
It is important to note that standard import requirements have not changed. Import conditions can be found on the Import Conditions database (ICON).
What are the benefits of the trial?
- The new inspection regime trialled on green coffee bean imports presented a number of benefits to stakeholders. This approach reduces overall inspection costs for compliant importers, and creates incentives to source products from higher quality suppliers.
- Risk–based inspection of compliant pathways means that more resources will be allocated to mitigate serious biosecurity risks.
Can I use the Automatic Entry Processing (AEP) Scheme for green coffee beans?
Importers and brokers currently utilising the Automatic Entry Processing (AEP) Scheme for green coffee beans will be unable to participate in the trial on green coffee beans. If they wish to take part in the trial and obtain the benefits of reduced border intervention, they can choose to provide their import documentation to DAFF Biosecurity for assessment instead of AEP.
Where do I get more information?
A letter is being sent to all import permit holders and brokers with advice on what’s changing. DAFF Biosecurity will endeavour to inform clients and industry stakeholders of any additional changes that may occur during the implementation.
Further information on the policy can be obtained by contacting Plant Quarantine Operations or phoning 02 6272 3917.
09 Jul 2012