Archive for October 2019


Australia’s maturation requirements for imported alcohol


Australia’s maturation requirements for imported alcohol


The Australian Border Force (ABF) recently advised of a consultation paper designed to establish a pathway for the importation of unmatured alcohol products based on grape, sugar-cane or grain mash.  Such a pathway would allow the importation of unmatured alcohol products that are similar in nature to brandy, whisky or rum without evidence of maturation, provided the goods are not described or labelled as ‘brandy’, ‘whisky’ or ‘rum’. 

The ABF had noted in that advice that  consultation forums would be set up to provide a platform for industry to understand the proposed model and be in a better position to make submissions on that model by November 30, 2019. (submissions should be sent to

Dates, as noted below, for these forums have now been advised. If you cannot attend in person but would like to dial in via teleconference please email the ABF and you will be provided with teleconference details .
Consultation sessions

The ABF will be running consultation sessions from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm as follows:

  • Wagga Wagga - 28 October 2019
    Commercial Club, 77 Gurwood Street, Wagga Wagga
  • Sydney - 31 October 2019
    Customs House, 10 Cooks River Drive, Sydney International Airport
  • Melbourne - 4 November 2019
    Customs House, 1010 LaTrobe Street, Docklands
  • Brisbane - 7 November 2019
    Customs House, 20-22 The Circuit, Skygate, Brisbane Airport

To attend one of the above sessions please RSVP to by COB Tuesday 22 October 2019

John Park - FTA

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FTA / APSA advocacy continues - Biosecurity Import Levy

FTA / APSA advocacy continues - Biosecurity Import Levy

As members will recall, the levy was first announced in the 2018 Federal Budget with an aim to collect $325M over 3 years from a commencement date of 1 July 2019.
Since that time there has been significant controversy surrounding 1) how the levy funds will be utilised; and 2) how the levy will be collected.
Use of the levy funds
Industry representatives have expressed serious concerns that the levy is in fact a tax with funds going into general revenue.
Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) continue to advocate that revenues collected translate to more frontline resources for the Department of Agriculture, better service levels for our importers, exporters and logistics service providers, as well as delivering real biosecurity outcomes.
Levy collection
In the event that we are left with the imposition of the levy, the next question remains as to what is the most effective method of collection?
The Department of Agriculture received widespread criticism for initial proposals ultimately leading to the former Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources announcing the formation of the Biosecurity Levy Steering Committee tasked with recommending the possible scope and design for the levy.
FTA was appointed to the committee and were joined by other leading representative bodies – Ports Australia, the Australian Institute of Petroleum, Cruise Lines International Association, the Australian Federation of International Forwarders, the National Farmers Federation, Shipping Australia, Qube Ports and the Cement Industry Federation.
To allow the steering committee adequate time to report and as outlined in this year’s Federal Budget, the government announced a new proposed date of 1 September 2019 and a relatively small loss of revenue associated with this deferred commencement. 
Report by the Committee
In line with the Steering Committee's responsibilities, a final report was provided to government on 31 May 2019.
Recommendations included:
•    that the Biosecurity Levy should be subject to a Regulatory Impact Statement;
•    the creation of a Biosecurity Advisory Council; and
•    an annual Budget-related paper which would provide a full reconciliation of biosecurity-related revenue and expenditure and thereby assist in clarifying how funds are collected and appropriated, and where they are spent.

There was also an overwhelming response from industry (steering committee members and respondents to our discussion paper) to move away from the models originally proposed by the Department of Agriculture to a simple administrative collection model against the Full Import Declaration (FID) receipt – the clear underlying message being that if importers have to pay a new levy, they have the right to pay it at a net rate - something that is best achieved via the FID process.
Current Status
The Ministerial formed steering committee has not received any feedback on its findings nor has industry been given any rationale for the failure to meet the 1 September 2019 deadline.
In follow up engagement with the Minister’s office last week, FTA stated that depending on how the levy is to be collected and passed on through the supply chain, adequate notice (suggesting a minimum of 3 months) is required to allow industry participants time to implement systems and to have discussions with customers about potential cost increases.
Members will be kept up to date on developments as they come to hand.
Paul Zalai – FTA / APSA

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Inspection Fact Sheet with attached list of approved bmsb providors by country



Who does this notice affect?

Customs brokers, freight forwarders, treatment providers and importers

 Inspection Fact Sheets and BMSB updates


Freight and Trade Alliance (FTA) in our regular dialogue with the Department of Agriculture ( the department) have been requesting that more detailed information around the BMSB season and particularly the operational and treatment issues are provided to industry by way of the web site.

We have also had discussions with their inspections team as regards delays that members have been experiencing. To that end we can advise that senior management from the department are currently working with both their bookings and inspection teams to minimise delays in allocating inspections.

That said in some cases we have investigated there have been other factors that may have contributed to these delays. To assist members when booking inspections we provide, from the department, the attached fact sheet.

We have also been advised by members that treatment providers offshore are receiving conflicting information from various sources in Australia. We again provide the below links to the published treatment procedures and consignment suitability fact sheets for sharing with your overseas agents and offshore treatment providers.

 Guidance for conducting BMSB Treatments 

Members should also refer to our news campaign on August 27 "BMSB - how to access the latest updates"  that explained how to access these updates and links to appropriate areas of interest.

John Park - FTA 

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