Consultation begins on new biosecurity protection levy

Sheep Central, August 23, 2023

CONSULTATION on Australia’s new biosecurity protection levy to be implemented from 1 July 2024 has been opened by the Federal Government.

​The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has opened consultation to help shape the way the new biosecurity protection levy will be applied.

​DAFF said the 2023-24 Federal Budget delivered sustainable funding to Australia’s critical biosecurity system.

This included $1.03 billion over the next four years, and an ongoing $267 million per year after that, introducing a long-term funding commitment that removes the challenge created by a history of short-term terminating programs.

​On 1 July, the government also uplifted cost recovery fees and charges to address rising system costs and ensure that risk creators are paying their fair share.

​As part of the next stages of the sustainable funding reforms, the government announced a new biosecurity protection levy as a mechanism for producers, as major beneficiaries of biosecurity controls, to contribute to this long-term commitment.

​The proposed levy would start from 1 July 2024 and is intended to collect around $50 million per year. It is intended the levy rate contribution for producers will be equivalent to 10 percent of 2020-21 agricultural levy rates, or another comparable metric, where such levies were not in place.

Click here to read the biosecurity protection levy consultation paper and register here to provide feedback via the survey.

To make a submission producers should read the consultation paper and submit feedback via the survey or upload a document, or both. Submissions close AEST 4pm, 6 October 2023.

Key questions raised in the levy consultation paper as a guide include:

1) How should a producer be defined for the purposes of the Biosecurity Protection Levy?

  1. a) Are definitions from existing levies legislation appropriate (see levies related legislation)?
  2. b) If your submission relates to a commodity that is not subject to existing agricultural levies, how would you define a producer for that commodity?

2) What should the levy rate look like for the commodities of interest to you, noting that:

  1. a) the Biosecurity Protection Levy is intended to be 10 per cent of the 2020-21 statutory agricultural levy and charge rates collected.
  2. b) some commodities are not subject to agricultural levies.

3) Should any thresholds and/or exemptions be considered?

4) How should Biosecurity Protection Levy collection arrangements and mechanisms be implemented for your commodity of interest?

  1. a) How should the levy be collected?
  2. b) How regularly should the Biosecurity Protection Levy be paid?
  3. i) If paid annually, should it be paid at the end of each financial year or calendar year?
  4. c) Are there other options to reduce administrative burden and/or harmonise with existing levy and charge arrangements?

5) What information would be important to you to have confidence the levy is proportionate to biosecurity system benefits?

Deputy Secretary of Biosecurity and Compliance Dr Chris Locke said the funding mechanism was to be designed in keeping with the shared responsibility approach of this year’s Budget – ensuring both those who create risk and those who receive significant benefits make reasonable contributions.

​“The amount producers are being asked to contribute is equivalent to 6pc of Commonwealth biosecurity funding in 2024–25,” Dr Locke said.

​“By comparison, importers will contribute around 48pc and the taxpayer will contribute around 44pc.

​“We want to make sure that biosecurity protection levy arrangements are practical, and that implementation and administration costs are as low as possible for all parties,” he said.

​“I encourage those with an interest in the biosecurity protection levy to get involved in the consultation.”

​Visit the biosecurity protection levy consultation website for more information and to have your say by 6 October 2023.

​Dr Locke said the government was asking those who benefit the most from strong biosecurity protection to make additional contributions.

​“And by sharing cost recovery arrangements across several areas, we’re minimising its impact.

​“From 1 July this year, the government increased cost recovery for delivering biosecurity activities for risk creators and importers, representing an average price increase of 28pc across biosecurity fees and charges,” he said.

​“Those services are now fully cost recovered for the first time since 2015.

​“The government has also committed to introduce a new cost recovery arrangement to be applied to low-value goods imported into Australia by sea or air, because up until now, taxpayers have been paying for biosecurity clearance activity on imported goods below $1000,” he said.

​“It will also be increasing the international passenger movement charge from $60 to $70 to help fund the cost of screening passengers for biosecurity risk at the airports.”

​More information is available at Sustainable funding to strengthen biosecurity.


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