Federal budget: Time for permanent biosecurity funding, says Cattle Australia

Beef Central, 04/05/2023

CATTLE Australia is calling on the Federal Government to provide permanent and sustainable funding for biosecurity in next week’s federal budget.

Australia’s biosecurity system is not fully funded on a permanent basis, and it relies on annual funding decisions to get the resourcing it needs.

The grassfed beef cattle industry has been calling for sustainable funding for the national biosecurity system for years and was a key pillar for the sector during the 2022 federal election.

Beef Central published this article on Monday, ahead of next week’s federal budget, suggesting the federal government may be looking at charging farmers with extra fees and charges to support the cost of biosecurity work.

Agriculture minister Murray Watt has repeatedly said he wants a new funding model for biosecurity that “shares the cost between taxpayers, risk creators, and beneficiaries of the system”.

Risk creators are understood to be importers, while beneficiaries are expected to be the farmers and exporters that have access to premium markets based on Australia’s reputation for being relatively disease-free.

David Foote

Cattle Australia chair David Foote said biosecurity was at the core of national security, defending our food and fibre production, natural environment, overall economic prosperity and critical international market access for traded goods.

“There should be no compromise, biosecurity is not simply about protecting farmers it is a national priority, to protect our food security,” Mr Foote said.

“To protect Australia, biosecurity must be sustainably funded to build and maintain its people, systems, intelligence, surveillance and response capability.

“Cattle Australia has been encouraged by discussions with agriculture minister Watt and his acknowledgement of the need for a sustainable funding stream.

“This is a time of escalating external threats such as foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, African swine fever, Japanese encephalitis, and varroa mite, on top of existing illegal food imports, animal, plant and pest incursions already being managed by industries and governments around Australia.

“Cattle Australia urges the government to use this budget to deliver a long-term, world-leading biosecurity program.

“A robust, and properly funded biosecurity system will drive confidence and investment in Australia’s agricultural industries, regions and economy.

“While industry may consider limited cost recovery initiatives such as container levies, these cannot be at the expense of our international competitiveness.

“It is the primary responsibility of government to sustainably fund biosecurity in the national interest.”

Cattle Australia engagements this week:

  • 4 May – Industry Webinar on FMD and LSD
  • 4 May – Cattle Australia Board Meeting
  • 10 May – NFF Session, Emerging National Rural Issues Forum
  • 16 May – Lumpy Skin Disease Preparedness Taskforce
  • 17 May – Live Animal Export – Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • 17 May – Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee
  • 18 May – National Farmers’ Federation staff summit
  • 18 May – Biosecurity Strategy National Implementation Committee




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