Red meat processors are seeking cross-sectoral industry support for their campaign to get the Federal Government to accept responsibility for part-payment of AQIS export inspection costs, following a decision last week to renege on an earlier agreement.
The Australian Meat Industry Council has placed full-page advertisements in agricultural print media being published in NSW and Queensland tomorrow, seeking support from grassroots industry members to lobby for change in the decision.
You can view tomorrow’s advertisement by clicking here.
The key message it contains is that the Gillard Government’s actions over AQIS funding are effectively imposing a new $6 to $8 per head tax on Australian cattle producers.
“The Australian meat processing industry, working with the Federal Government, has developed and supported a new model for export services in Australia. The new model will require less resources from AQIS to operate but will affect regional businesses and jobs,” the advertisement says.
The new inspection model would provide The Gillard Government with $30 million in savings.
“The Federal Government wants industry to pay 100 percent of the cost of the new model for Australia’s export services by deciding to eliminate the existing 40pc rebate for agriculture,” the statement says.
Based on evidence given by AQIS food safety head, Greg Read to a recent Senate Estimates hearing, it was acknowledged that the costs for the new model would effectively result in a ‘$6 to $8 per head tax for industry’ from July 1 this year.
That cost would ultimately be borne by livestock producers, AMIC claims. One major processor spoken to by Beef Central this week has calculated the additional annual cost within his company’s operations at $7 million.
“Most of our major international competitors do not pay these fees,” AMIC’s advertisement says.
“The $6 per head tax will reduce our international competitiveness as a meat exporting country.
This decision will act as a ‘tax on livestock production and exports’ that will threaten the viability of meat processors and producers alike.”
The news that the Federal Government had decided to renege on its AQIS part-funding agreement was broken in Beef Central’s story “Govt reneges on AQIS deal” appearing on May 19.
AMIC is encouraging beef industry stakeholders to contact their local Federal Member, or Minister Ludwig’s office on 02 6277 7520 to complain about the decision, and ask why the Gillard Government wants to impose a $6/head tax on the Australian red meat industry.
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