A NEW regime for reporting Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) breach investigation results has been adopted by the Department of Agriculture.

Previously the Department published a separate report for each investigation into ESCAS non-compliance allegations but will now produce reports covering specific periods of regulatory performance.

The Department’s website published its first ESCAS Regulatory Performance Report on Thursday, covering the period of January 2014 to December 2014.

The new reporting format also provides comprehensive facts and figures relating to exporter and market performance, for the specific reporting period.

“The advantage of the new reporting approach is that it allows readers to gain a snapshot of how ESCAS is performing in each of Australia’s livestock export markets in achieving international animal welfare standards for exported Australian livestock,” the Department said.

“The Department intends to publish this report at least twice a year, offering stakeholders some consistency and frequency in publishing livestock regulatory performance information.

“The department’s new approach will improve timeliness in reporting while not reducing transparency. Regulatory performance assessment processes have not changed. Real-time monitoring and actions taken to control market risks remain in place.”

The new report said 515 consignments, approved under ESCAS requirements, were exported from Australia in the 12-month reporting period, totalling about 3.5 million head of livestock, exported to 18 markets.

“During the period, no substantiated non-compliance was reported to the Department for supply chains in 10 of these markets,” the report said.

In that period, the Department commenced 22 regulatory performance reviews into reports of ESCAS non-compliance, for supply chains in Indonesia, Israel (and Gaza), Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

For incidents reported during the period, the Department made a total of nine findings of non-compliance, recording one critical, two major and six minor non-compliances in relation to exporters’ ESCAS supply chains.

The Department said in most cases of confirmed non-compliance, exporters took corrective action “on their own initiative”.

The Department’s review found those actions “sufficiently addressed the concerns and therefore no further regulatory action was required”.

“This period demonstrates an increase in exporters self-reporting possible non-compliance promptly, with the majority of reviews conducted relating to self-reports,” the report said.

However, the Department confirmed it took regulatory action into potential ESCAS non-compliance in Jordan whereby additional conditions were applied to all exporters’ ESCAS supply chains servicing that market in an effort to help prevent, detect and manage unauthorised movement of sheep.

“Conditions have also been applied in both Gaza and Israel markets to manage exports to those markets until the review relating to the Gaza market is complete,” the report said.

“A review into whether non-compliance with the ESCAS regulatory framework has occurred typically involves obtaining information from exporters and third parties, undertaking technical assessments of photographs and video, making decisions on whether non-compliance has occurred or risks are evident, and considering whether any regulatory action during or following the review is necessary.

“Each report is treated on a case-by-case basis and a review may take several months to be completed.”

However, 15 ESCAS regulatory investigations remain in progress of which 11 were self-reported by exporters.

The report identified the 10 incident free markets for the 12014 period as; Bahrain; Brunei Darussalam; Egypt; Japan; Mauritius; Philippines; Qatar; Russia; Singapore; and Turkey.

“A total of 953,379 sheep, 123,984 cattle, 154 goats and 488 buffalo were exported to ESCAS supply chains in these markets with no incidences of non-compliance evident,” it said.

In Indonesia, where substandard animal welfare standards led to the market’s snap closure in 2011 and the subsequent design and implementation of ESCAS, 724,150 cattle were exported last year.

The report said eight self-reports of potential ESCAS non-compliance for cattle to Indonesia were submitted to the department by exporters during the period.

“Following the completion of two reviews a total of five minor non-compliances have been recorded in relation to exporters’ cattle supply chains,” it said.

“The Department accepted that the actions taken by each of the exporters in each case sufficiently addressed the concerns and therefore no additional regulatory action was taken.

“Three other reviews remain in progress.”

Of the 704,545 sheep exported from Australia to Kuwait last year, two reports of alleged ESCAS non-compliance were submitted to the Department; one by a third party and the other self-reported by an exporter

The Department commenced a review into each report with one completed that did not record any non-compliance, meaning no additional regulatory action was taken for sheep supply chains, during that period.

Livestock exported under ESCAS requirements between January 1 and December 31, 2014:

Buffalo – 5065

Cattle – 1,153,815

Goats – 84,149

Sheep – 2,268,047

Total – 3,511,076

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