Organics Industry Advisory Group
In December 2020, Minister Littleproud announced the Organics Industry Advisory Group (OIAG) bringing together sixteen organic industry representatives; from producers to manufacturers, consumers to small growers, certification and industry bodies; to assess whether the current framework was fit for purpose and recommend what consistent domestic regulation should look like.
After discussions between January and June 2021, the OIAG agreed the current regulatory framework was not fit for purpose and made clear recommendations to Minister Littleproud in a report on how the organic industry can reach its full potential delivered in June 2021.
On 26 November 2021, the Minister announced a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) as part of the next stage of reviewing and progressing the implementation of domestic regulation in Australia. AOL continued to work with the Government during this RIS process as part of the reconvened OIAG and provided advice to the Department of Agriculture and consultants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers on how to connect with industry stakeholders as part of the RIS.
Following the Minister’s announcement The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment conducted surveys with businesses, consumers and roundtables (which AOL participated in) throughout January 2022. When these surveys were complete the Department announced a consultation RIS which ran from 18 February to 17 March 2022. AOL provided a comprehensive submission on behalf of its members highlighting the need for domestic legislation of the National Standard.
As a member of the Organic Industry Advisory Committee, AOL and many of its members (Arcadian, Kialla, Angove Wines, The Organic Milk Co, Mallee Organics, ACO Certification, AUS-QUAL, Cullen Wines, Pure Harvest), worked closely with the Department to ensure the interests of the industry were represented through consistent, measured and future-focused outcomes. The OIAG has now concluded, consistent with its Terms of Reference.
Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) process and 2023 Outcome
For the Consultation RIS process that was open until 17 March 2022, the Department sought feedback from businesses and individuals across the organics sector on regulatory and non-regulatory options for Australia’s organic framework. The Department received over 80 submissions during this period. Based on feedback AOL received from the Department, submissions indicated a preference for a new regulatory framework.
The announcement of a federal election in April 2022 brought about a pause in the domestic regulation process, with Labor going on to claim government and the new Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry taking shape. Much of their focus following the election was on pressing matters related to flooding and biosecurity, but the industry managed to re-engage the organic discussion with the Department and new Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt later in 2022.
On 30 March 2023, more than 12 months after the Consultation RIS process concluded, Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt announced that the Australian Government will not progress a domestic regulatory framework for organics. The Minister stated that the “…costs would outweigh the benefits”, based upon cost benefit analyses (CBA) that were conducted regarding regulatory pathways. AOL published a media release on 31 March 2023 in response to this announcement.
Representatives from AOL will be travelling to Canberra in June 2023 for further discussions on this important ongoing issue.
The Domestic Regulation Information Pack prepared by AOL is still relevant for any members who wish to contact their local member of parliament and raise the issue of the domestic regulation directly. AOL encourages everyone to email this pack directly to their local member, or else hand the pack over directly at any events where they are set to appear.
Please click here to access the pack.