AUSTRALIA’S farmers have four weeks to have their say on a redraft of legislation that underpins the nation’s agricultural levy system.
The Department of Agriculture Fishers and Forestry said a ‘Have Your Say’ consultation is now open on a redraft of existing ag levy laws.
The legislation is being simplified and streamlined after 30 years in operation, DAFF said.
The department said 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, DAFF said.
The work by the Australian Government to modernise the legislation aims to reduce the legislation underpinning levies to five 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, the department said.
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.
The department said the 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, DAFF said.
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.agriculture.gov.au/modernising-agricultural-levies.
The details for remaining levies in the draft regulations and rules will be available for consultation in late 2023 or early 2024, the department said.
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.
HAVE YOUR SAY