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Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee
09/02/2016
Estimates
AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES PORTFOLIO
Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited

Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited

[17:38]

ACTING CHAIR: We move to the Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited—LiveCorp. Mr Galvin, can you update the committee on the LGAP project?

Mr Galvin : Yes, I can. The Livestock Global Assurance Program, as you would be aware, resulted from the Farmer Review. The review recommended that industry look at providing a quality assurance program. Industry initiated research in 2012 on the role of QA and a risk assessment program to assist exporters to demonstrate compliance with ESCAS. The project explored the feasibility and requirements of a risk management and quality assurance program that would assist in best practice, promote continual improvement and complement ESCAS. This research is available on our website.

In 2013 we presented the findings to industry, and industry took it upon itself then to move to phase 2. So industry was fully consulted, and it was industry's decision to go to phase 2. We are now nearing the completion of phase 2, the development of the Global Assurance Program for the live export industry. Phase 2 will deliver a fully implementable assurance program, providing materials, templates and training packages, et cetera. It will go overseas to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East to pilot the market. It will develop an implementation plan, timeline and detailed costings.

The development of LGAP remains an ongoing research project of the Australian livestock industry. No decision has been made regarding whether the program will be implemented, so it is still a research program. With regard to the time frame, we would expect the project to be completed in the first half of this year. So we are looking at March, April, May, for the program to be finished. The industry would then consider whether it is going to be a viable program—how much it is going to cost; what are the implications; whether it will provide us with streamlined benefits while still maintaining ESCAS. So that is it in a nutshell. Sam, do you have anything to add?

Mr Brown : The only comment I would like to add to David's comments is about what the actual program is aiming to achieve. My chairman has covered—and I can see that you have the R&D brief which outlines the program there—that it is a conformity assessment and certification program, not a regulatory model itself. So it seeks to provide certification assurance over the current ESCAS. So ESCAS stands. It is a certification system that oversees that and provides greater assurance in implementing and introducing new things like internal audits, internal checking and monitoring and centralised management systems, which currently are not required under ESCAS. So that is the concept we have been tasked with: to research and develop more cost-effective and thorough processes for the industry.

ACTING CHAIR: On the surface, it looks as though a lot of work has gone into it. What would inhibit the implementation of your voluntary scheme—or will it be compulsory? What are you hoping? What is the industry hoping?

Mr Galvin : The industry is hoping that it is going to deliver benefits and be practical and work. So that is the key—to see, once the project is finished, whether it is going to confirm that is the case. Then the industry is going to see how much it is going to cost. Is it going to cost more? Is it going to be cost-neutral? Is it going to cost less? So they are the primary things that the industry has to look at. That is why it has been done to the death. It has been a rigorous R&D program.

ACTING CHAIR: Mr Galvin, the next step is to tick off by the industry or discussion by the industry. I think you said in your opening statement or your opening answer when that is, but I missed it. How far away are we?

Mr Galvin : We would envisage it would be in the April or May period.

ACTING CHAIR: It will be interesting to see how you go because there has been a fair bit of work. The best part about it, and I will reserve my comments on that, is that on the surface it is industry driven at this stage.

Mr Galvin : It is industry driven. Sam will correct me. We have had a government officer on the working party. We did not want to do it in isolation from the department. The department has been there along the journey, inputting et cetera. I thank the department for that, for being involved in that. I think it has been good that we have been able to work like that in cooperation.

ACTING CHAIR: On the back page of LGAP you have got a table with ticks on. There are conditions or bits and pieces there, so to speak, where you have highlighted where they are already in there. You have ESCAS and then you have gone further to say what is in ESCAS and what is in LGAP. Is there another table where there may be stuff that is not in either?

Mr Galvin : I would not think so. It has been rigorously assessed. I would not think so. I think we have covered the bases.

ACTING CHAIR: It is not trying to circumvent certain parts?

Mr Galvin : Exactly.

ACTING CHAIR: We cannot ask you much more now on that. But what I do want to ask you about—and I said earlier I am waiting for somewhere else later tonight to ask this—is exports. I was in China the week before last. I was at Huizhou. Are you aware of the facility there, with Hutchison Ports at Huizhou, with the abattoir being built?

Mr Galvin : Only anecdotally. No, I would not be able to put any input into it.

ACTING CHAIR: That is fine, Mr Galvin. Thank you very much. I do not have any further questions.

Senator EDWARDS: I will put mine on notice.

ACTING CHAIR: Senator Siewert? No. Senator Bullock? Gentlemen, thank you very much.

Mr Galvin : Thank you.

ACTING CHAIR: Did you want to stay longer? You sound disappointed.

Mr Galvin : I always enjoy being here.

ACTING CHAIR: That is because we do not yell at you anymore!

Senator Ruston: Some of your colleagues may not say the same thing!

ACTING CHAIR: Well, we could, but do not give us any reason to.

Mr Galvin : Thank you.

ACTING CHAIR: Thanks, gentlemen.