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The Australian Government has reaffirmed its commitment to modernising Australia’s cross-border trade environment providing $53.5 million over 4-years from 2023–24. This funding builds on existing actions being undertaken by the STS Implementation Taskforce and our partner agencies including the Australian Border Force and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to simplify cross-border trade for Australian businesses, while maintaining the integrity of Australia’s border and biosecurity.  

This investment demonstrates the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to making trade simpler for business. It lays the groundwork to ensure we are delivering benefits to business and establishes a 3-year regulatory roadmap to support ongoing modernisation. The funding includes:  

$28.3 million over 4-years from 2023–24 to support delivery of simpler and better aligned rules for cross-border trade and streamlined models for government and trade business interactions. 

  • Adoption of the Law Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR). 

    • The Australian Government through the Attorney-General’s Department will explore options to implement legislative reform to enable paperless trade. The reforms will support Australian business to digitalise key trade records such as bills of exchange and bills of lading, giving electronic records the same legal standing as equivalent paper-based records. 
    • This work is the government’s response to calls for adoption of the MLETR as a necessary reform for Australia’s cross-border trade system. Our intent is to implement legislation by 30 June 2026. 
  • Modernising customs processes to strengthen the customs licensing regime and for the return of seized goods. 

  • The Minister for Home Affairs will introduce legislative amendments to modernise and strengthen the customs licensing regime and digitise processes for the return of seized goods by 30 June 2024.  

  • Digitising current paper and manual processes will enable digitalisation of customs licensing processes in future reform phases, simplifying processes and reducing administrative burden.

$25.2 million over 4-years from 2023–24 to trial new cargo intervention models for cross-border trade.  

  • The funding will enable Australian Border Force, in consultation with DAFF to commence trials and co-design activities with industry to develop new cargo intervention models for Australia’s high-volume sea and airports.  

    • The Streamlining the Cargo Intervention Model (SCIM) initiative aims to fundamentally reengineer where and how the Australian Border Force undertakes cargo intervention, using contemporary technology, automation and business processes embedded in the supply chain.  

    • The SCIM initiative is an investment in Australia’s economic productivity and security. It is anticipated that the new models will significantly speed up inspection at the border, enabling the more efficient flow of legitimate cargo, while also improving supply chain integrity.  

    • This work leverages Australia’s strong relationships with international partners to adopt best practice models. 

Modernisation and improved efficiency through STS reforms will lower the cost to trade and bring broader economic benefits and strengthen border and biosecurity protections. The MYEFO investment builds on the existing suite of regulatory reform work already underway where we will work collaboratively with industry on the following initiatives:  

Whole-of-government border controls policy framework 

  • The Australian Government is developing a whole-of-government border controls policy framework that will provide practical principles and considerations for government agencies to determine the suitability of border controls to achieve policy and regulatory objectives.

  • The framework also aims to reduce inconsistent or duplicative requirements and inefficiencies in border control processes that create unnecessary administrative burden on industry and government. 

Trade identity policy framework 

  • The Australian Government is leveraging existing work on whole-of-government identity frameworks to develop a trade identity policy framework.   

  • Digital identities will allow businesses and individuals to verify their identity securely and efficiently, increasing efficiency of identification processes and reducing duplication, while keeping personal and commercial data private and secure. 

Improving the Fit and Proper Persons (FPP) assessment experience for business 

  • The Australian Government is aligning FPP assessment core criteria across the Australian Border Force, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, saving time, money and administrative burden for Australian individuals and businesses working in regulated areas of cross-border trade. 

Supporting enhanced data sharing between government agencies 

  • The Australian Government is developing a cross-border trade data sharing framework to set out the principles, processes and governance requirements for a whole-of-government approach to cross-border trade data sharing.  

  • Enhanced data sharing will benefit importers and exporters, especially small and medium sized businesses, by enabling more efficient movement of goods across the border, less duplication and reduced compliance costs. 


More information on the: Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook | Budget 2022-23