The Simplified Trade System (STS) Industry Advisory Council (IAC) met in Sydney on 16 May 2023.
The IAC Chair, Mr Paul Little AO, opened the meeting and thanked members for their advice and expertise, which is instrumental providing strategic advice to the STS Taskforce and Government on cross-border trade reform.
Head of the STS Implementation Taskforce (the Taskforce), Mr Randall Brugeaud, provided a progress update on the STS reforms including an overview of recent domestic and international engagements. He highlighted upcoming engagements, including the inaugural meeting of the IAC Working Group on 18 May 2023 and the STS Summit on Monday 26 June 2023.
Mr Brugeaud also provided a Budget update, noting that Government committed a further $23.8 million to STS reforms in the 2023-24 Budget. This funding will allow the STS taskforce and partner agencies to provide quality-evidence based advice to Government on a range of productivity-driving cross-border trade reforms.
Members heard from partner agency representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australian Border Force, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, and Austrade who provided updates on a range of STS related reforms.
Mr Little and Mr Brugeaud facilitated a strategic discussion with members seeking their feedback and advice on STS baselining findings and opportunities for reform. Members provided insights including:
- Recognising that while we can learn from our international counterparts, we will need to tailor our reforms to suit the Australian cross-border trade environment.
- Supporting an incremental approach to reforms, ensuring there are early benefits to business and changes are delivered in a way that manages risk.
- Confirming that strong central leadership and coordinated governance across government agencies will be needed to deliver more joined up outcomes for businesses.
Mr Little and Mr Brugeaud noted that these insights are helping to shape advice to Government on a more integrated approach to cross-border trade and will support ongoing alignment between industry and Government on STS reforms.
The IAC meets quarterly. The next meeting will be held in August 2023.