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Article originally published 1 March 2023.

The Simplified Trade System (STS) Industry Advisory Council (IAC) met in Melbourne on 1 March 2023.

The IAC Chair, Mr Paul Little AO, opened the meeting by welcoming new and existing members. The IAC Chair acknowledged the diversity of expertise members bring to the IAC and the value they are providing in supporting the Government’s agenda.

As part of their introductory comments, members reflected on the importance of the Government’s integrated approach to cross-border trade transformation. This will help to provide more business-centric services, connect supply chains, and better drive alignment between industry and government.

Head of the STS Implementation Taskforce (the Taskforce), Mr Randall Brugeaud, provided an STS reform update. Mr Brugeaud highlighted the importance of ongoing business engagement in shaping user-centred solutions. In particular, he noted the importance of co design in developing the future regulatory, process, digital and data enablers for Australia’s cross-border trade environment. Mr Brugeaud also outlined upcoming engagement opportunities, including an STS Summit later in 2023.

Representatives from the Taskforce provided updates on regulatory reforms as well as key elements of digital and data reforms for cross-border trade. The IAC received updates from partner agencies, including the Australian Border Force and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as part of the whole of government reforms being led by the Taskforce.

Senator The Hon. Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism, joined the meeting and thanked IAC members for their continued support. Minister Farrell confirmed the Government’s commitment to the STS reforms, highlighting their importance in enabling the government’s broader trade diversification agenda. The Minister also acknowledged the role international trade must play in meeting current economic challenges, noting that Australia is economically stronger when trade flows freely.

Minister Farrell led a discussion with members, which included member insights on both challenges and opportunities for cross-border trade reforms. Members noted the complexity of cross-border trade transformation and the importance of continued industry engagement and consultation. The need for iterative delivery was also discussed, along with a need to draw on global best practice approaches and capabilities.

The IAC meets quarterly. The next meeting is scheduled for 16 May 2023.