Thursday, October 14, 2021

Simplifying the experience of importing and exporting goods


As members will recall, Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) representatives met The Hon Dan Tehan (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) on 2 June 2021 with a key discussion item being the preliminary government and industry co-design project concepts associated with the Simplified Trade System (STS) - refer HERE

On 18 June 2021 Minister Tehan, announced Mr Randall Brugeaud would lead the STS Taskforce, commencing on 1 July to review international trade regulations and modernise outdated ICT systems, to assist more than 57,000 Australian exporters, and more than 380,000 importers - refer HERE

FTA / APSA representatives had an exclusive meeting yesterday (13 October 2020) with Mr Brugeaud and the executive team from the STS Taskforce to establish an information and engagement strategy to ensure members can have a say and remain at the cutting edge of emerging reforms.

FTA/APSA will be providing further member updates in coming weeks. In the interim, preliminary engagement opportunities exist as outlined below.


An initial step associated with the STS is the proposed introduction of a Regulatory Sandbox within the Customs Act 1901. The Australian Border Force (ABF) is progressing this change to enable time limited trials with approved entities in a controlled regulatory environment.
An Exposure Draft of the Customs Amendment (Controlled Trials) Bill 2021 is available on the Home Affairs website - refer HERE
The Controlled Trials Bill creates a regulatory framework that seeks to encourage innovation in developing best practice regulation through testing new business practices and technologies before committing to legislative change. Results from Regulatory Sandbox trials will build the evidence base to inform longer term deregulatory reform. The ABF is separately developing the Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines which will contain specific details of how to propose and manage trials.
FTA/APSA are seeking member feedback on what we see as a positive initiative.
Please forward your views to Clint Latta (Head of Trade and policy – FTA/APSA) at to have your views included into the FTA/APSA submission – member feedback required by 12pm AEDT, Monday 18 October 2021.


As a part of the STS, the ABF and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment are developing new intervention models for sea and air cargo to enhance the detection of threats and risks and maintain the integrity of the border. The aim is to achieve this by using automation and innovative non-intrusive technologies embedded in the logistics chain.

FTA/APSA have provided preliminary views in preparation for formal engagement commencing tomorrow, 15 October 2021. Further updates and opportunities for member feedback will be provided post this meeting.

It is evident the STS Taskforce has made rapid progress in its research to understand the experiences of businesses when importing and exporting goods and to identify opportunities to improve processes.
We understand that government agencies including the ABF and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment are assisting this process and have shared insights and information on reform initiatives to address pain points and ease border congestion. 
The STS Taskforce is now seeking to engage direct with members to build on this work and are seeking expressions of interest for involvement from exporters, importers, customs brokers and freight forwarders.  

The STS Taskforce is specifically looking for representatives from the following industries:
  • Seafood
  • Wine
  • Supplements
  • High tech manufacturing
  • Bulk consumer goods
  • Fresh food
  • Cars
  • Alcohol
  • Gluten free foods
 They are also interested in speaking to businesses who:
  • Both import and export
  • Who have just started or are considering importing or exporting
For further information, members can contact the STS Taskforce's Experience Research and Design team direct at

Paul Zalai - Director FTA | Secretariat APSA | Director GSF