Australian navel orange picked boxes

Australian fruit and vegetable exporters will have improved access to New Zealand following the signing of the Australia-New Zealand Export Plan.

Signed on 19 November, the agreement removes a wide range of regularity requirements for Australian horticultural exports with the aim of streamlining the export process.

David Littleproud, Australia’s minister foragriculture, said the signing of the Australia-New Zealand Export Plan represented a significant market access win for the country's fruit and vegetable export industries.

“Our farmers will be able to get their premium produce across the ditch quicker under this arrangement while still ensuring health and biosecurity safeguards,” Littleproud said.

“The export plan recognises Australia’s existing export certification system, removing the need for New Zealand specific requirements.

Under the changes, Australian exporters will no longer need to nominate their industry inspectors, packhouse or growers each year and can use whoever is New Zealand approved.

“Packhouses do not need to be registered establishments if they are not undertaking treatments or authorised officer inspections, a cost saving of over A$6,000 (US$4,388) a year in registration fees and audits,” said Littleproud.

“Treatment providers won’t need to reapply each year, and there will be fewer audit costs for farms, packhouses and treatment facilities as we move to a compliance-based assurance model that rewards highly compliant entities with less audits,” he added.

“These and a number of other changes made under the Australia-New Zealand Export Plan will save farmers and those along the horticultural export supply chain time and money.”