Cattle Australia further questions Biosecurity Levy

Cattle Australia further questions Biosecurity Levy.

Tuesday, 23 April 2024

With the clock ticking on the commencement of the Australian Government’s proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL), Cattle Australia (CA) has raised a raft of serious new concerns about the tax and called into question Government’s ability to adequately consult with industry and legislate in time.

Appearing at a public hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the BPL by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee on Tuesday, CA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Parker, said extensive discussions with stakeholders since the organisation made its formal submission last October had further brought to light the inadequacies of the tax.

“The process used by Government to consult with industry has been fundamentally flawed from the outset, and CA’s discussions with stakeholders has raised additional alarm as to how the BPL, in its current form, would be fairly, equitably and cohesively implemented and administrated,” Dr Parker said.

“While we welcomed the announcement of the Sustainable Biosecurity Funding Advisory Panel in late February, we are yet to see a broad-ranging and robust Terms of Reference and remain concerned with the Government’s level of engagement with the Peak Industry Bodies which represent levy payers.

“The Terms of Reference must include a clear line of sight of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry budget for activities related to the biosecurity system, including corporate costs.

“Additionally, with the BPL to be initiated by July 1, we still await detailed information as to the collection mechanism of the levy and other policy challenges, noting how little time remains in the sitting calendar to legislate.”

Consultation with stakeholders over recent months has also led Cattle Australia to call on the Government to:

  • Not implement the BPL on the grass-fed cattle sector, until all other agricultural industries have arrangements in place to manage collection mechanisms
  • Make an equitable determination on the “overcollection” and “undercollection” of BPL levies, that will undoubtedly occur due to seasonal changes, in respect of the grass-fed contribution to total levy collection, and not allow an overcollection to further subsidise its appropriation funding of biosecurity activities
  • Place industry levy funds in a special account to increase transparency
  • Not implement the BPL until it has made clear determination on the imposition of the container levy
  • Ensure the pending National Biosecurity Strategy Implementation Plan include substantial direction around the ongoing sustainable funding of biosecurity including, but not limited to, the implementation of the BPL.

“CA fundamentally supports increased investment in biosecurity and acknowledges the additional funds allocated by Government in this area, however the announcement of this levy in last May’s Federal Budget, without consulting with peak bodies, has meant the ongoing consultation process has

simply never been able to catch up, depriving stakeholders of the opportunity to provide guidance in a timely manner,” Dr Parker said.

“The international marketability of 75% of Australian beef is contingent on our disease-free statuses, so biosecurity is of paramount importance to grass-fed beef producers.

“With the July 1 deadline looming, we must see urgent action from Government to genuinely work with us, not without us.”



Hayley Kennedy
0488 021 154

Stacey Wordsworth
0438 394 371


Garry Edwards

Managing Director and CEO, Maureen Pastoral Company

Garry was born and raised on a commercial beef cattle property south of Gloucester in New South Wales. Garry has personal cattle production interests in this region today as well as his corporate role as the Managing Director and CEO of AAM, a business that has a significant focus in continuing to expand beyond our cattle production interests in Central West NSW, near Forbes and Bective Station near Tamworth, NSW.

Garry has over 25 years’ experience in large scale livestock production management within the Australian agribusiness sector. His experience spans across a vast array of areas of the agricultural supply chain and includes managing businesses involved in livestock breeding, growing and finishing, financing of agricultural projects, implementation of precision agriculture practices, investigation and implementation of sustainability and innovation initiatives and developing and operating integrated agricultural businesses.

In 2007, Garry founded the company that today is AAM, commencing the development, operation and management of a portfolio of agricultural assets valued at $887 million and he remains the major shareholder of AAM.

Garry has a unique skill set across multiple facets of the grass-fed cattle production supply chain, from production through to finishing, as well as a unique perspective of the challenges facing all grass-fed producers within Australia through his involvement in the modernisation and development of livestock marketing facilities throughout Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

George King

Managing Director, The Whitney Pastoral Co and Manager, "Coombing Park"
George is a seventh generation Australian farmer, currently managing his family property which they have held since 1880. George operates an Angus breeding and finishing operation joining 1,500 cows per year, with a low-cost model turning off steers at feeder weights and direct sales of females.

George has long been on a regenerative agriculture path as it was the only way he could see to renovate their property 25 years ago without employed equity or working capital, which at the time they didn’t have. He continues with this model as it provides outstanding cost containments, continued production and profitability.

George is married with four (4) children, Harry 24, Emma 22, Dave 15 and Tom 13. He also enjoys flying and has his pilot’s license.

George is also a Founding Director of The Wellness House and a Founding Director of ONFARM CO. He has a strong voluntary involvement with his community including as the NSW Rural Fire Services Senior Dept Capt. and Chairman of St Paul’s Carcoar.

Bryce Camm

Grazier, camm agricultual group

Bryce Camm hails from Dalby in Queensland’s Darling Downs region where he oversees his family’s company Camm Agricultural Group; an integrated beef and cropping enterprise with interests across Queensland.

Bryce has been CEO of the group for the past eight years. Prior to that he was the Manager of the group’s award winning Wonga Plains Feedlot for eight years where he oversaw the operation triple in size. Growing up on “Natal Downs” Station in north Queensland Bryce undertook a dual degree in Business Administration and Communications at Bond University and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program as well as the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

Bryce is currently the Chairman of Beef Australia Ltd and the Immediate Past President of the Australian Lot Feeders Council, as well as a previous Director of the Red Meat Advisory Council. 

Elke Cleverdon

Owner and Director, Cleverdon Agriculture - Grass Fed Black Angus

Elke is an experienced non-executive director in the agribusiness and customer-owned banking sector with a passion for member-centric organisations. She brings a grower perspective coupled with her genuine drive to elevate the industry through innovation. She was selected to the National Farmers Federation ‘Diversity in Ag Leadership’ 2022, among 12 women nationally. 

Elke has a broad background in the agricultural industry as a producer and rural financial coach across regional NSW challenging business models & production systems for growers across a wide range of commodities. Elke is a joint owner & director of a broad acre family cattle farm at Harden NSW since 1993. Cleverdon Ag raises & trades black Angus cattle  

Elke brings a wealth of financial, risk management and governance experience. Her current non-executive director roles include Local Land Services (NSW), Murrumbidgee Health (NSW Health) and SWS Credit Union. Some of her many strengths is a strong focus on strategy, risk and a triple bottom line while chairing large scale audit & risk committees  

David Foote

Director - Tandarra Partners

Nominated by: Peter Hall, Troy Setter, Bryce Camm, David Hill, Adam Coffey 

For the past 45 years, David has held rural property management, executive and senior management positions across all mainland states in areas of; beef cattle & sheep breeding, growing and lot feeding, meat retailing, small seed growing, irrigated fodder, and the further processing and exporting of primary products such as meat, grain and fodder.

His export experiences which started in 1989 included a role with Stanbroke Pastoral Company to help develop Stanbroke’ s Live cattle export program. Additionally, David managed the integration of Bottle Tree feedlot grain feeding in the production system while developing and launching their now globally recognised Diamantina beef brand.

David has been in a leadership role at the Lee Family’s, Australian Country Choice group of Companies since 1999 and progressed in that time from General Manager Properties & Livestock to Group Managing Director until stepping back in December 2020 from a full time role to a strategic advisory and board role.

Headquartered in Brisbane and employing over 1,400 staff across 42 operations, Australian Country Choice (ACC) operates Australia’s largest vertically integrated beef supply chain; encompassing cattle breeding, cattle growing and feedlotting to supply its integrated food processing facility in Brisbane that incorporates beef slaughter, beef boning, value-adding and case ready beef packing.

ACC’s cattle property portfolio of around 4 million acres in Queensland & NSW encompasses operations from the Barkly Tableland, CQ coalfields, Carnarvon ranges, Augathella, Blackall, Roma, and Moonie districts of Queensland, with a carrying capacity of 300,000 head. of cattle to support the Company’s 3 feedlots.

Additionally, David represents Agricultural & Cattle industry interests in his role as; Non-Government member Australia­ Indonesia Red Meat & Cattle Partnership, member SmartSat CRC, member Cattle Australia -Policy Council, member Australian Meat Industry Council -China & Halal Trade Groups, Chair Workplace Health & Safety Queensland -Rural Industry Sector Standing Committee, Deputy Chair Laguna Bay Pastoral investment committee and Board Member lnventia Genetic Technologies (IGT). 

Away from work David has a small cattle property in the Mt Kilcoy (Qld) district running Charolais & Charbray breeders to the delight of his four grandchildren.

David wishes to continue into a second term to help build a strong and successful Cattle Australia to represent the interest of all cattle producers