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Reduced inspection fees benefit horticulture exports.

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DAFF04/082WT - 2 April 2004

Reduced inspection fees benefit horticulture exports

Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Warren Truss today announced significant reductions in Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) horticulture export certification fees.

Exporters and rural communities will benefit from the new fee structure through lower fees, simpler charging arrangements and greater equity in the way AQIS administers its programs.

"The reductions will be worth close to half a million dollars a year, and have been made possible because exporter activity has been higher than forecast over recent years," Mr Truss said.

AQIS's horticulture exports program provides inspection and certification for exports to key overseas markets, and maintains access to those markets in cooperation with Federal and State agriculture authorities and peak export industry groups.

In October 2001, the Howard/Anderson Government announced that it would fund 40 per cent of AQIS's certification and registration costs to support Australia's $32 billion a year agriculture export industries, saving exporters more than $70 million.

Only 60 per cent of the cost of the horticulture exports program is recovered from industry through fees for export certification and service activities, documentation and travel.

"Under the new arrangements, AQIS has streamlined its operations so producers will save on document fees, more efficient revenue collection and simpler categories for charges including for overtime for AQIS inspectors," Mr Truss said.

"The new fee structure has been put in place following consultation with the Horticulture Exports Consultative Committee, which recommended aligning charges with the cost of the services provided to horticulture exporters."

Benefits from the new structure include:

● AQIS document fees reduced by 15 to 50 per cent;

● travel charges adjusted to align fees with the cost of services and to

spread costs equitably across exporters; and ● overtime charge categories streamlined from six to two.

Clients with significant travel costs can mitigate these through sharing expenses with other exporters, adopting co-regulation arrangements or moving goods to a central inspection point.

For more information, exporters should contact Jeanine Crowther on (02) 6272 5776.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433

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