‘Have Your Say’ consultation is now open on a redraft of existing legislation that underpins Australia’s agricultural levy system. The legislation is being simplified and streamlined after 30 years in operation.
Agricultural levies are for industry, led by industry and have been a key contributor to the continuing success of Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries, in areas such as research and development, and marketing.
Since the 1990s, Australia’s levy system—and the legislation governing it—has grown in size and complexity. There are currently more than 50 pieces of legislation supporting the agricultural levy system.
The work by the Australian Government to modernise the legislation aims to reduce the legislation underpinning levies to 5 key Bills and supporting instruments, while maintaining the key features of the levy system. Existing levies will not be changed through this process.
The new legislation aims to provide a simpler, clearer legislative framework so industries can keep benefiting from their investments in research and development, marketing, biosecurity, emergency responses, and residue testing.
A critical part of this process is getting input from those with an interest in how levies work. The core of the proposed legislative framework, five draft Bills, is available for public consultation until 5 June 2023.
These draft Bills build on extensive engagement with industry bodies and research and development corporations over recent years to understand the strengths and weaknesses in the current agricultural levies legislation.
This consultation will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the proposed draft legislation; understand what is proposed to change and what is not proposed to change; and provide feedback on the proposed Bills and draft legislative framework.
Draft regulations and rules that sit under the draft Bills are also available for comment. These include the operational details of some, but not all, existing levies and charges.
Interested stakeholders will be able to comment on the draft Bills, regulations and rules until 5 June 2023 through the department’s Have your Say platform: https://haveyoursay.
The details for remaining levies in the draft regulations and rules will be available for consultation in late 2023 or early 2024.
Levies are an important part of keeping our agricultural industries at the cutting edge as technologies, supply chains, markets, and environmental and economic conditions change over time.
The five Bills open for consultation from 1 May 2023 include:
- Excise Levies Bill – imposes levies on agricultural commodities produced domestically
Customs Charges Bill – imposes charges on agricultural commodities that are imported or exported.
Services Levies Bill – enables levies to apply to some agricultural services
Collection Bill – regulates collection of levies and charges
- Disbursement Bill – disburses collected monies to levy recipient bodies and provides Commonwealth matching funding for eligible research and development expenditure.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Taxation without representation – MLA takes most of the money but can’t/won’t identify the levy payers, despite minister/senate committee order to do so!! MLA AGM procedure and ‘elections’ are not at all representative of producer’s views as they are minutely stage managed. Only solution is to stop collecting the $5/head levy – remove the trough.
Get rid of them. The $400 000 000 annual take from from farmers to fund 13 bodies that don’t sell anything is a drag on Australian farm profitability. Take MLA for example – 2 billion revenue from graziers since 98. Add the 1.9b cost of NLIS and we are talking nearly 4 billion in costs over a 25 year period. The only important function of MLA is market reporting and this could be done by the ABS and ABC reporters at a fraction of the cost.