As my fellow customs brokers would know, since 01 April 2016 we have been required to earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. The reporting year commences on 01 April and runs through to 31 March. The Australian Border Force (ABF) requires all customs brokers to possess a minimum of 30 points. If I am honest, the most painful and tedious part of maintaining CPD is the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) content.

Maintaining CPD points was relatively simple (I say that it was relatively simple), we would pay one of the industry bodies Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) or the International Forwarders & Customs Brokers Association of Australia (IFCBAA) a fee and we would either attend sessions face to face or complete e-learning modules through their platforms. The certificates would be stored in that industry bodies portal.

Now each customs broker needs to have three (3) platforms to earn CPD points. We need to have a separate account with the Australian Border Force (ABF), another account with the DAFF and one with our chosen industry body. If we choose to participate in each industry bodies CPD content we could quite well have four (4) platforms to manage. The ABF compulsory content needs to be completed by 31 March 2024 and the DAFF compulsory content needs to be completed by 18 October 2023.

Why does the ABF and the DAFF need their own platforms? I ask the obvious question – which appears not to have been considered:

“why couldn’t the ABF and the DAFF content be provided to each industry body and then each customs broker complete that content via one platform?”

When the CPD journey began in 2016, I would not have contemplated that customs brokers would need to deal with three (and possibly four) platforms to earn CPD points.

It is obvious where this customs broker CPD journey is headed. I can pre-empt that if the ABF performs an audit on customs brokers CPD activities that we will need to justify the CPD points that we have earned across the four platforms. I can also pre-empt that the ABF and the DAFF will only increase their content and stipulate that their content is mandatory via their platforms.

Feel free to reach out to me to let me know your thoughts.