Two Important Government Reviews for Business

Last week the Rudd Labor Government announced two policy reviews of importance to business.

Review of Export Policies and Programs

As announced during the election campaign, the Labor Government will conduct a comprehensive review of Australia’s export policies and programs.  Labor’s trade policy can be found here –

Labor is concerned that Australian exports have underperformed in recent years despite regional economic growth and high demand for our energy and mineral resources.  As Minister Crean said in his press release “across all major export categories, growth of export volumes in the past six years has been below the historical average since the floating of the Australian dollar in 1983”.

Key Points to Note
  • The review will be chaired by Mr David Mortimer AO from Leighton Holdings and Australia Post.  He will be supported by Dr John Edwards.
  • This review will include a review of the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme.
  • It will also analyse Australia’s free trade agreements with the United States, Singapore and Thailand to assess their net benefits.
  • Consistent with Labor’s commitment to multi-lateral trade, the review will examine options for ensuring that FTA’s strengthen the WTO multilateral trade system.   This part of the review will be overseen by a reference group of experts – the list can be found in Minister’s Crean’s press release.
  • There is an opportunity for you to provide a submission.  A scoping paper will be released in April to assist with consultations.  We will keep you informed.
  • The review is to be completed by 31 August 2008.

For full details of this review including the terms of reference and those involved go to Minister Crean’s release at

Independent Quarantine and Biosecurity Review

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, has announced an independent review of Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements as promised during the election campaign.

As Minister Burke said “every farmer or business owner connected to our primary industries knows how important it is to protect Australia from disease”.  This is the first major review of quarantine and biosecurity since the former Labor Government’s in 1995.

Key Points to Note
  • The review will be undertaken by a consultant and former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Heritage, Mr Roger Beale AO, and there other experienced panel members.
  • The panel is to deliver its report to the Minister by 31 July 2008.
  • This review will run separately to the commission of inquiry into the outbreak of equine influenza currently being conducted.

For further information about this review, please go to the Minister’s press release at –