Criteria for adopting International Standards and Risk Assessments

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1 Criteria for adopting International Standards and Risk Assessments February 2016 Criteria for Accepting International Standards and Risk Assessments 1

2 Table of Contents 1 About the Department The regulatory reform agenda International Standards and Risk Assessments Departmental approach to trusted international standards and risk assessments Criteria for adopting trusted standards and risk assessments Review of criteria Contact us... 6 Criteria for Accepting International Standards and Risk Assessments 2

3 1 About the Department The Department s mission is to protect Australia s border and to manage the movement of people and goods across it. This mission is critical to preserving Australia s sovereignty and national security. Its broad remit touches many parts of Australian life industry and commerce, national security, protection of the community, enforcement of the law, security of Australia s offshore maritime resources and environment and collection of revenue. The Department s strategic objectives are to i) Protect Australia, ii) Promote Responsive Migration, iii) Advance Trade and Revenue and iv) Lead Border Innovation. The Department is the gateway between Australia and the world, facilitating trade, travel and migration while protecting Australia from threats to the border. In everything we do, we must uphold the trust of the Australian people and Government that stems from the privileged place we hold at the border and in the community. The ABF is the operational arm of the Department. The ABF manages the flow of people and goods across Australia s border to maximise travel, trade, prosperity and social cohesion, and at the same time to minimise threats to community safety and national security. The ABF is responsible for the border protection, immigration compliance and enforcement functions of the former Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. ABF officer exercise powers under the Maritime Powers Act 2013, the Customs Act 1901, the Migration Act 1958 and the Australian Border Force Act The ABF works with a range of other government agencies to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border, and by doing so aim to make Australia safer and more prosperous. 2 The regulatory reform agenda On 14 October 2014, the Government published the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda: An Action Plan for a Stronger Australia. The agenda included a number of proposals including the following: 1 To reduce duplicative domestic regulation, the Government will adopt the principle that if a system, service or product has been approved under a trusted international standard or risk assessment, then Australian regulators should not impose any additional requirements, unless there is a good and demonstrable reason to do so. This will reduce costs and delays for businesses, increase the supply of products into the Australian market and allow regulatory authorities to focus on higher priorities. The requirements of this new policy tie into the Department s ongoing commitment to reduce its regulatory burden on business, individuals and community organisations, and support the Government s regulatory reform agenda, including contributing to the Government s $1 billion annual net red tape reduction target. 1 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda: An Action Plan for a Stronger Australia, DPMC, 2014, p. 31 available: Criteria for Accepting International Standards and Risk Assessments 3

4 2.1 International Standards and Risk Assessments The agenda requires a review of processes in each portfolio to objectively assess whether Australian standards or risk assessments are needed. In doing so, agencies are required to conduct stakeholder consultation to develop criteria for accepting or adopting trusted international standards and risk assessments. The Department carried out a broad consultation process during December 2015 and January 2016 and took on board, where appropriate, stakeholder feedback. The Department considers an international or overseas regulatory authority as trusted if it is assessed to fulfil the Department s below criteria. The criteria will be used when new regulation is being considered or when existing regulation is being reviewed in addition to the Regulation Impact Statement requirement. Accepting trusted international standards and risk assessments can reduce duplication of regulatory approvals, reduce delays, increase competition and improve business competitiveness in Australia. 2.2 Departmental approach to trusted international standards and risk assessments The Department aims to adopt international standards and risk assessments where possible. Many of the standards administered or enforced by the Department are consistent with international treaties and conventions. Where data is collected, assessed, tracked or identified, the Department uses a range of international standards including those set by United Nations (UN) bodies, international agencies and professional organisations. Examples currently adopted by the Department include: World Customs Organisation Kyoto Convention and Supply Chain Security Standards International Air Transport Association (IATA) Port and Airline Codes International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Chicago Convention International Maritime Organisation Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965 World Trade Organisation Technical Barriers to Trade International Standards Organization. These and other standards are used for a variety of purposes, including: business continuity; vessel identification; passenger data processing and messaging system standards; country, port, airline and tariff classification codes. The Department does not have any legislative powers to ensure that imported products conform to a specific standard or performance level. Accordingly, the ABF does not examine or inspect imported products at the border to assess compliance with a specific standard. Under relevant legislation, the ABF has the power to detain goods where they are suspected of being restricted. The ABF conducts intelligence-led, risk-based targeted responses to goods arriving into Australia. It is the responsibility of importers to ensure they meet the requirements specified within regulations for prohibited, restricted, or regulated goods upon importation into Australia. Criteria for Accepting International Standards and Risk Assessments 4

5 3 Criteria for adopting trusted standards and risk assessments Criterion 1 Examining existing international standards or risk assessments As part of this criterion, the Department would consider: Would there be a reduction in regulatory burden? Would adopting the international standard or risk assessment reduce or increase regulatory burden on an individual; organisation or the broader community? Is there a publicly transparent assessment process in place? Is Australia able to access assessment reports quite readily? Are assessment reports either peer reviewed, assessed or audited by an independent body or organisation? Does the relevant body, country, or organisation provide access to credible reports? Is Australia able to access reports and or data that the international standard or risk assessment is based on? To what extent do other countries, bodies or organisations use the international standard or risk assessment? Have other countries, bodies or organisations that have adopted the international standard or risk assessment had success in its applicability/use? Criterion 2 Applicability of the international standard or risk assessment to the Australian context The Australian context needs to be taken into consideration if we were to continue to use an Australian or regional standard or risk assessment rather than adopting an international standard or risk assessment. Considerations include: Could there be genuine health and safety, environmental or biosecurity risk? Would the integrity of our borders passengers and cargo be compromised? Where necessary, consultation with relevant organisation/s such as health, safety, or environmental experts would occur in order to understand the potential impact on the Australian context. If the international standard or risk assessment were adopted, could there be a possible compromise to Australian health and safety, the environment or biosecurity? Would adopting the international standard and/or risk assessment create conflict with an existing government policy or objective? Would adopting the international standard or risk assessment override an existing Australian government policy? For example, the requirement for tobacco to be sold in Australia in plain packaging. In addition to Commonwealth policy, existing state or territory regulations need to be taken into consideration. The adoption of an international standard and/or risk assessment must be consistent with the legal construct of Australian regulators. Criteria for Accepting International Standards and Risk Assessments 5

6 Would the implementation and associated costs of adopting the international standard and/or risk assessment outweigh the overall net benefit to government; businesses and individuals? When adopting the international standard and/or risk assessment, consideration of the costs associated in aligning or complying with international standards (e.g. financial cost, productivity impact, establishing/redesigning new business processes etc.) should be considered and compared to the benefits of implementation. Criterion 3 Overall benefit to Australia s trade, international agreements or engagement By adopting an international standard and/or risk assessment, the Department aims to reduce regulatory burden, remove barriers to trade and increase competition in Australia. The Department would consider: Would adoption enhance Australia s trading position or ability to negotiate international agreements? The Department would consider the benefit to Australia s trading position should the international standard or risk assessment be adopted. What would the costs, benefits, and flow on risks be to the Australian government; businesses; or individuals should the international standard or risk assessment be adopted? Any disadvantage possibly renders the adoption untenable. In some instances, Australia is already at the forefront of world-best-practice through the work of Standards Australia, therefore, adopting an international standard or risk assessment would not be in the best interest of stakeholders. 3.1 Review of criteria The Department is committed to adopting international standards and risk assessments where appropriate. As part of the Government s monitoring and evaluation requirements, the Department will review its performance under these criteria and determine whether the criteria are operating effectively. As such, the criteria will be reviewed every two years, which will include broad stakeholder consultation. 4 Contact us Our preferred method of contacting us is via to Or mailed to Director Regulatory Reform Governance & Parliamentary Branch Department of Immigration and Border Protection PO Box 25 Belconnen ACT 2616 Criteria for Accepting International Standards and Risk Assessments 6

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