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What Will Your Industry Be Paying To The Biosecurity Protection Levy?

Grain and livestock farmers will shoulder the brunt of the burden if the government’s controversial biosecurity protection levy begins operation as scheduled on July 1.

A Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry document was quietly published on 18 April 2024, outlaying the calculations and production data levy estimates are based on.

Where’s the Biosecurity Protection Levy Hitting The Hardest?

In calculations based on the average gross value of production for 2019-20 to 2021-22, the Department has calculated that grains alone will be asked to pay 23 per cent of the levy increases, at a rate of $12.24 million.

The information was made public one week before the commencement of the Senate Inquiry’s open hearings on the Agriculture (Biosecurity Protection) Levies Bill 2024 [Provisions] and associated bills. It was also released just a few days after the deadline for public submissions to the inquiry had passed.

Grain Producers Australia noted that the amount is about 10 times more than they currently contribute through a voluntary levy, which currently supports Plant Health Australia and is used mainly for emergency responses including recently for the Varroa Mite outbreak.

The livestock sector is slated to beef up its levies too, with cattle and calve producers to contribute $9.3m per annum, and the sector as a whole contributing around 30 per cent.

Despite the looming ban on live export, sheep and lamb producers are expected to contribute 5.8% of the biosecurity protection levy. Dairy farmers will cover $3.1m or 6%, meat chicken farmers in for $1.8m (3.5%), and pig farmers 2% at around $1m.

Meanwhile, vegetable growers will pay the most of all horticulture players towards the BPL with a $1.7m, or 3.3% overall, contribution. In terms of nuts, almond growers will be hit up for $560,000 while salmonid ($680,000) and rock lobster ($280,000) fisheries will pay the most from the fisheries sector.

Where Does Your Industry Sit?

Hover over our graph below to see the BPL contribution for your sector:

BPL Levy Treemap by The Lucas Group

How Has The Department Done The Math?

The federal government originally announced the BPL in the May 2023 Budget and said it would be collected on a par of 10% of the 2020-21 agricultural levy rates.

However, following a public consultation process this has been adjusted to be based on
each industry’s proportionate share of the total gross value of production (GVP) for the total agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.

Despite the adjustment, GPA chair Barry Large said the government’s policy was fundamentally flawed in its design and “the most glaring fact” is that virtually all producer groups had unified against it.

“This is not about how much the levy rates are per tonne or per kilogram of farm produce – it’s all about the principle of this policy and real failures to get it right and win any support,” he said.

“Australian farmers should not be used as sacrificial lambs to fill budget black holes in government departments.”

Mr Large pointed out that while farmers were being forced to pay the levy as ‘beneficiaries’ of biosecurity, other major supply chain participants, such as major supermarkets were not.

DAFF currently disburses around $800m to 18 levy recipient bodies each year, this is comprised of $500 million in levies and charges collected from farmers and $300 million in Commonwealth matching payments for eligible research and development activities.

There are currently more than 110 levies and charges are collected on more than 70 commodities across the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors.

Sources: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

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