Citrus industry squeezed to fund inspections

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th October 2011

Citrus Australia is testing a new system of quarantine inspection as the Federal Government moves the industry to ‘user pays’ for Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).

Under the trial, the industry will pay for AQIS authorized officers (AAOs) to manage and perform inspection functions.  

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig has welcomed the initiative.

Senator Ludwig said the government is taking measures to ensure that “all AAOs who inspect export plant commodities have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their job”.

The data collected from the trial will be used to assess the standard and quality of AAOs and these results will inform future reform.

Other horticulture exporters have been disappointed with the outcome of negotiations on user-pays inspections, saying they have neither improved market access nor reduced costs to industry.