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Advocacy group offers assistance to freight forwarders in meeting new border agency requirements

CANBERRA is strengthening border agencies’ powers including an upgrade to the screening and inspection of international mail and cargo arrivals, a revised Infringement Notice Scheme (effective February 1, 2014) and increased customs broker obligations. On the back of these changes, Customs has also recently made a strong compliance statement with the revocation of a NSW depot operator licence. This approach is consistent with recent statutory changes in this area of trade and is in line with messages communicated by the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Customs & Border Protection Service and the Australian Federal Police at a range of 2013 public forums. 

Industry advocacy body, the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) is supporting the industry through upcoming reforms via the launch of its Border Compliance Program. Available to all freight, logistics and trade sectors, the program also supports customs brokers in meeting their increased Continuing Professional Development (CPD) licencing requirements. Previously, the first year of CPD required customs brokers to complete a minimum of 15 points (approximately five hours of approved content). The new CPD year which commences on April 1, 2014 sees an increase in the CPD points requirement to 30 points, double that of the previous requirement. 

Paul Zalai, director and founder of FTA, highlights that the program compliments the existing arrangements offered by training company Broker CPD “We will now also be providing a face-to-face conference style delivery on contemporary management practices, changes evolving from international trade agreements, statutory issues including the Customs Blueprint for Reform, the evolving Biosecurity agenda and integration of these issues with Australian landside logistics requirements”, says Mr Zalai.

The Border Compliance Program will consist of 2 x six-hour sessions during the year, in both Sydney and Melbourne locations and provides customs brokers their full CPD compliance requirement. The program will commence in May 2014 and will address equally each of the three CPD streams of:
i) customs broker obligations, risks and ethics
ii) professional brokerage skills, and
iii) customs brokerage management.

Technical content for the Border Compliance Program will be developed by FTA in partnership with government representatives, industry specialists and Crowe Horwath’s Customs and International Trade (CIT) experts. 

To complete the program, Real Institute, one of Australia’s leading Registered Training Organisations will deliver the management component. Participants will have the option to complete an assessment task based on the management topics and receive a certificate of attainment, which can be credited towards formal management qualifications.

The Border Compliance Program builds on the existing relationship that Real Institute has with peak industry associations including Shipping Australia Limited, the Australian Federation of International Forwarders, the Export Council of Australia, the Logistics Association of Australia and the Australian Peak Shippers Association. 

The training available to the international freight and logistics sectors has extended across stevedore operations, customer contact, business sales, management, competitive systems (quality management), WHS and warehousing at the certificate III to diploma levels. 

“We look forward to working with government agencies and all of our partners to drive greater outcomes for the industry” Mr Zalai said.