DAWR Lodgement Questions

An article from Lloyds List, September 2016

Are you an accredited person not working for a brokerage that has an Approved Arrangement with DAWR? Then read on as you’re probably at risk.

In lodging an import declaration in the ICS there has in the past been two questions for the broker to answer. The first was whether the brokerage had an approved arrangement with DAWR. The second was whether the broker was accredited under the NCCC / AEPCOM Scheme(s).  In house programmes such as EDI CargoWise and Expedient just required lodgement and answers may have been pre-set.

I imagine that about the time of the replacement of Compliance Agreements by Approved Arrangements the first question was dropped in the ICS and the second question only was asked, viz is the broker an accredited person.

According to the online version of the Approved Arrangements Glossary an accredited person is “A person who has successfully completed specified training approved by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources”.  No updates have been provided to industry that the publication is incorrect or has changed.

In FTA’s well attended CPD session in Sydney last week DAWR advised in passing that an accredited person was someone who was BOTH accredited under the relevant Scheme AND worked for a brokerage that held an Approved Arrangement with DAWR. This apparently unannounced change should be of huge concern to any broker working for a company that has not renewed their compliance agreement. I understand about 25% of brokerages that formerly held a Compliance Agreement with DAWR have not as yet taken up an Approved Arrangement. Given that the cost of $2,900 is the same for a small one person company as it is for a large multinational it can be expected that many of this 25% has chosen not to do so.

I wrote the broker update training for CBFCA and in the extensive research I undertook prior to writing it and in the list of changes provided by DAWR, no mention was made of this critical change in definition.

It’s not unreasonable for a broker answering this question to expect that a brokerage for which he works that has an Approved Arrangement with DAWR would be recognised in the ICS, but this appears not to be the case. What is the impact upon brokers who have correctly answered that they are accredited (not having been advised otherwise)) but no longer work for a company with an Approved Arrangement, which as we have been advised is about 25% of the total of companies that formerly held Compliance Agreements? Section 243T must be a concern, although the apparent failure of DAWR to notify of the change may provide a defence.  

DAWR’s compliance monitoring strategy is risk based. This means that the department focus its attention on areas where there is an identified biosecurity risk or high probability of a biosecurity risk. A broker answering a question for a metro delivery that doesn’t require an AIMS entry probably wouldn’t be surprised. I have heard brokers discussing that their intent in other circumstances was to continue to lodge at the counter. It wasn’t a surprise therefore when DAWR recently announced they were closing this facility.

In the development of the update course the primary concern was always that DAWR would neglect to advise industry of changes. Their initial suggestion that industry could check the Scheme’s documents on line each time a lodgement was made was rapidly discounted. An agreement was made that DAWR would advise the RTOs of changes so that they could be built into their CPD / CBC updates. It appears that here we are in the very beginning of the new Scheme and already a major lack of communication has occurred.

I’ve no idea whether the software providers have allowed for this in their updates but recommend it be checked if the brokerage has chosen not to take up an Approved Arrangement. Most if not all such decisions to not take up an Approved Arrangement, despite having held a Compliance Agreement, appear to have been because of the cost.

And let’s not get me started on the lack of industry consultation there actually was in the imposition of these fees. Announcing something and upholding it despite objections from industry is not consultation. A fee based upon number of Compliance Agreements divided by DAWR costs, for a Scheme whose inception was to save DAWR costs, is unfair to any but holders of multiple such agreements such as the multinational freight forwarders. Neither is it properly reflective of cost recovery principles required by government. In many brokers’ opinion a fee on the FID that could be passed through to clients remains the fairest solution.