The National Farmers’ Federation acknowledges comments made by Agriculture Minister the Hon. Murray Watt in his opening address to Senate estimates on the Biosecurity Protection Levy, however in the absence of further detail, producers continue to remain opposed to this policy.
NFF President David Jochinke said: “The agricultural sector, along with supply chain participants, have overwhelmingly objected to the levy, identifying numerous issues with the policy construct and execution pathway.
“The 40th NFF Members’ Council in October – the sector’s chief policy-making forum comprising all NFF member presidents from state and commodity organisations – passed a motion opposing the policy.
“We acknowledge today’s comments by the Minister recognising the significant concerns of industry, including issues related to equitability and transparency. However we still await significant further information concerning the levy’s design, and what it will practically look like for producers on the ground.
“We also want to see details on the potential impact on the existing levies system; transparency about how the collected funds will actually deliver dedicated, additional and tangible biosecurity outcomes; formalised producer oversight mechanisms; and proper recognition of existing producer contributions to the broader biosecurity system.
“Australia’s 85,000 farmers, along with thousands of supply chain participants, are still faced with what appears a fundamentally flawed proposal to be implemented in less than five months.
“There is still a gaping hole in information and we call on the Government to keep listening to producers and put in a process to properly address their concerns.
“Until such a time that these issues are addressed properly, we remain opposed to the Levy.”