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Import risk anaylsis - the science based approach



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Media Release John A nderson ^ “ 4

DPIE97/108A 18 A ugust 1997

IMPORT RISK ANALYSIS - THE SCIENCE BASED APPROACH

The M inister for Primary Industries and Energy and D eputy Leader of the National Party, John Anderson, has set the ground rules for quarantine into the next century.

"As an island nation which is free of m any of the w orld's pests and diseases but which also depends on its agricultural exports, Australia m ust have a world-class quarantine system," Mr A nderson said. "A key element of such a world-class system is the im port risk analysis process."

Mr A nderson was announcing improvements to im port risk analysis procedures.

"The Government has committed an additional $13.24 million in the 1997-98 Budget to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and key areas of the Department of Primary Industries and Energy (DPIE) over the next four years to enhance the science-based risk analysis process, increase community and stakeholder consultation, im prove transparency and establish, where required, Risk Analysis Panels to provide scientific advice on significant, new import access requests in line w ith key recom mendations of the N aim Report into Quarantine," the Minister said.

Mr A nderson said the Government agrees w ith the N aim Committee that there are six fundam ental principles which should apply to im port risk analysis.

Im port risk analysis should be: • science based and politically independent

• conducted in a consultative framework;

• a transparent and open process;

• consistent with both Government policy and Australia's international obligations; • harm onised through taking account of international standards, guidelines and procedures; and • subject to appeal on the process.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Tel: (06) 277 7520 Fax: (06) 273 4 120

"The new arrangem ents meet Australia's obligations as a m em ber of the W orld Trade Organisation (WTO) and our interests as a major agricultural trading nation," Mr Anderson said. "Whilst decisions m ust be m ade on the basis of scientific evidence and within a reasonable time frame, there will be every opportunity in the course of the risk analysis process for stakeholders

to be fully informed and contribute their views." An outline of the new process is attached.

U nder the new arrangements, the findings of an im port risk analysis will be referred to the Executive Director of AQIS, as the delegate of the Director of Quarantine (the Secretary of DPIE), for decision.

Appeals in relation to the process followed in the course of a risk analysis will be considered by an Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel comprising the Director of Quarantine, the Chief Plant Protection Officer or the Chief Veterinary Officer, the Chair of the Q uarantine and Exports Advisory Council and one other member of the Council. W here necessary, the panel m ay draw on external expertise and advice in considering such an appeal. If required, the norm al provision for appeal and rem edies available under the Adm inistrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act will apply.

"Frankly, im port risk analysis is a difficult task, and I can only say how im pressed I am with the careful thought that has gone into developing these revised procedures," Mr Anderson said.

As part of implementing the new arrangem ents, AQIS will hold a series of information seminars for industry and stakeholders in order that the process is fully understood and is able to operate in the m ost effective manner.

Mr A nderson said that an application to im port maize for country areas will be one of the first to be assessed under the new system.

Mr A nderson commended the balanced approach to this issue being taken by industry groups such as the National Farm ers' Federation and the Grains Council of Australia which have called for patience, co-operation and goodwill from all parties.

M edia contact: Don Gumming M inister's office 02 6277 7520

0419 493 511

Figure 1 : Agricultural Import Risk Analysis (IRA) Procedure. Most import applications (including assessment o f biological products and assessments fo r weed potential) are dealt with under established policy and will not be subjected to this mechanism. The risk analyses covered by this schematic involve variations in established policy.

f APPLICANT J

Stakeholder contact

IMPORT PRO PO SA L LODGED

AQIS

Approved by ED AQIS and Applicant and stakeholders advised of proposed RA approach

Priority-setting considerations (w here required)

Evaluation to Determ ine type of Risk Analysis (by AQIS Program Specialists)

RA Co iducted

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ft RA and o ns and invite ch issu e s only)

After discussion with Stakeholders AQIS determ ines issues, timing, RA panel, working groups etc.

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Publish Dtaft RA and recom m endations and invite com m ent (on tech issues only)

T

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►

- >

— ►

- ►

— ►

Review comments and finalise RA recommendation

Stakeholder contact

Applicant/ Appellant

Appficant/AppeBart acMsed

Upheld: AQIS addresses and corrects

Access request determined by AQIS ED

Appeal (to Director Quarantine) on the process

upheld; AQIS addresses and corrects

Appficara and stakeholders advised and decision published

Appeal considered by Import Risk Analysis

Appeal Panel*

RA recommendations to ED AQIS

Appeal under ADJR if desired

*Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel (IRAAP) chaired by the Chair o f the Quarantine and Exports Advisory Council (QEAC) and comprising the Director o f Quarantine, the Chief Veterinary Officer or the Chief Plant Protection Officer (as appropriate) and one other member o f QEAC.