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Mounting evidence biosecurity levy “should be scrapped”: NFF

Beef Central, 19/03/2024
The National Farmers’ Federation is calling on Federal politicians to “do the right thing by Australian farmers” as debate on the controversial Biosecurity Protection Levy kicks off in the House of Representatives gets underway today.

David Jochinke

NFF President David Jochinke said despite the mounting evidence the levy was poor policy and should be scrapped, the Government had the numbers to wave it through the lower house.

“We call on Senators to see commonsense and hit pause on this legislation so they can listen carefully to the criticism this flawed policy has drawn,” Mr Jochinke said.

“It’s not just Australia’s 85,000 farmers who have raised alarm bells, it’s also the Productivity Commission, the Australian National University, the Office of Impact Analysis and even importers.

“While we never wanted this legislation to get this far, the best case scenario is for it to be sent to Senate Committee for appropriate scrutiny.

“This will provide the time and analysis to properly consider farmers’ concerns.

“We remind Senators, Australian farmers already spend millions of dollars each year in existing levies that already incorporate biosecurity spending as well as through managing the pests and diseases on-farm brought to our shores by importers and travellers.

“By paying another tax towards biosecurity services, they are effectively subsidising foreign competitors who import food products into Australia.

“Along with it being at odds with standard policy design and tax practice, this levy simply isn’t fair.”

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  1. Trevor Ranford, 22/03/2024

    Mr Ranford, recipient of the 2022 Australian Biosecurity Award for Industry, said despite widespread criticisms from the industry and independent experts alike, the government is blindly proceeding with this unfair tax on primary producers, due to take effect in just a matter of months.

    “Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt has now admitted that primary producers do already pay their way,” Mr Ranford said.

    But, says Mr Ranford, the minister wants to fund the government’s ‘normal commitments’ to biosecurity by forcing the $50 million tax on primary producers.

    Mr Ranford said that the government has ignored a steady stream of advice against the proposed levy, including from the Productivity Commission, the Australian National University’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, and 50 agricultural industry bodies.

    “The Minister for Agriculture continues with the rhetoric that he is listening to the industry, but the facts show a different story.”

  2. Angus North, 19/03/2024

    The main beneficiaries of the levy are Australian primary producers, whose produce benefits from the premiums Australian biosecurity standards attract in the global marketplace. What’s not to like? They’re helping pay for a service that directly benefits them, but does not benefit the non-farming Australians. Australia’s agrarian socialism must come to an end. This is a step in that direction. The sooner NFF get on board with that concept, the better.

    The US takes an entirely different view, Angus. The US Department of Agriculture justifies its heavy subsidisation of animal and plant biosecurity, meat inspection and food safety as a matter of public benefit, protecting food security and food safety for all – not just farmers. Editor

    • Trevor Ranford, 22/03/2024

      Angus,
      The main beneficiaries will be the Government. It will help to balance the books of DAFF after years of mismanagement. There is absolutely no guarantee that the $50 million will ever be used on biosecurity.
      There are far better ways to build a sound and effective biosecurity system than taxing primary producers a further $50 million per annum for years to come.

  3. Val Dyer, 19/03/2024

    Bio security funding by governments is an Insurance Policy to protect the standard of living of all Australians.

    Like any household, if money earned is less, there is less money to spend, resulting in a lower standard of living.

    It is a responsibility of governments to protect future income (ie money from exports).

    Why governments and some economists focus more on Gross Domestic Product (which moves money around in an economy), rather than increasing wealth so that more money can be spread around from export income escapes me.

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