National Farmers' Federation

Biosecurity Protection Levy Senate Committee public hearing

Today the Senate Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee holds the public hearing on the Biosecurity Protection Levy. Below is National Farmers’ Federation CEO, Tony Mahar’s opening statement: 

On behalf of the NFF, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee today.

Australia’s biosecurity system is fundamental to the success of our agriculture industries, to the health of our natural environment and to our society and economy at large.

Australian farmers contribute significantly to Australia’s biosecurity system and efforts, through on-farm management of pests and diseases and existing levies and fees that support emergency response arrangements, biosecurity research, development and extension.

The NFF and our members oppose the proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy. We have outlined a serious of strong concerns in our submission, including that:

  • The Levy fails to recognise existing producer contributions to the biosecurity system;
  • It is inconsistent with agreed principles of the National Biosecurity Strategy;
  • There is strong concern regarding the transparent use of the collected funds to deliver dedicated, additional and tangible biosecurity outcomes;
  • It’s likely to have adverse, unintended consequences on the existing levy system; and
  • And it ignores the need for increased contributions from risk creators including containerised imports.

Put simply, the Biosecurity Protection Levy is poor policy.

This conclusion has been validated by several independent organisations including the Australian National University (ANU), the Productivity Commission, and the Office of Impact Analysis (OIA).

The NFF calls on the Committee to address these concerns through its inquiry, and not let an arbitrary implementation deadline dictate what is a significant policy change for the entire sector, with potentially serious impacts.