Cattle Australia implores Government to listen on biosecurity levy

Cattle Australia implores Government to listen on biosecurity levy.

Monday, 12 February 2024

Cattle Australia (CA) has again called on the Australian Government to genuinely listen to grass-fed cattle producers, and the broader agriculture sector, and take on board serious feedback surrounding the Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL) Bill.

CA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Parker, said despite industry consistently expressing the BPL would be detrimental to primary producers across the country, the shortcomings of the policy had still not properly been considered.

“From the outset, this process has not been acceptable,” Dr Parker said.

“As an industry, we were not appropriately consulted prior to the BPL being announced in May’s Federal Budget and, despite industry groups from throughout the agriculture sector continually raising concerns about the serious inequities of this new tax since that time, there has been no evidence these have been listened to or taken on board.”

CA is calling on Government to:

  • Confirm money collected through the levy will be directly invested in biosecurity measures
  • Confirm how various commodities will be charged and how these levies will be collected
  • Confirm the Biosecurity Protection Levy design includes a mechanism for real-time industry consultation, both for the implementation of the Levy and its ongoing management, consistent with the sustainable funding actions of the National Biosecurity Strategy  
  • Clarify the future implementation of a container levy and if WTO trade reasons will prevent this approach.

Dr Parker said these points were required for the issues consistently raised with government by CA to be addressed.

“What we’ve asked is entirely reasonable and must be addressed before this legislation is taken to the lower house,” Dr Parker said.

“Primary producers are the people who will have to pay this tax, and it is critical they see a direct improvement in biosecurity as a result of this new cost to their businesses.

“We will simply not accept this levy without the points we have raised being actioned.”

Multiple risks and consequences

Dr Parker said the principles of the BPL did not accord with the recent Productivity Commission report into levies, which assessed the policy against well-understood criteria.

“The independent Productivity Commission analysis also supported industry’s view that this tax carries multiple risks and consequences for producers,” Dr Parker said.

“This new tax unfairly punishes those already doing the right thing (i.e. levy-paying producers are being forced to pay more taxes), while others continue to avoid making any contribution to biosecurity costs and shared responsibilities.

“Another great inequity of this tax is the levy, as proposed, will be paid many times on an individual animal. This flawed, ‘one-size-fits-all’ tax proposal needs to be paused or reversed immediately to prevent these unintended consequences.”

Dr Parker said Australian grass-fed cattle producers were acutely aware of the critical importance of upholding Australia’s world-leading biosecurity record, which was why they already invested significantly in implementing best practice biosecurity measures within their operations.

“We also pay directly through other compulsory industry levies that raise hundreds of millions of dollars – including biosecurity levies,” he said.

“We’ve been calling for increased funding and protections to make the system better and fairer for producers with increased accountability and shared responsibility, but this proposal in its current form is grossly unfair and fundamentally flawed.”

ENDS

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Stacey Wordsworth
stacey.wordsworth@bluehillpr.com.au
0438 394 371

Hayley Kennedy
hayley.kennedy@bluehillpr.com.au
0488 021 154

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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  

Elke is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), a Fellow CPA, and holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in marketing, finance, business strategy and leadership. Her critical thinking and business acumen after 16 years’ experience as an executive in customer-owned banking and the last 6 years as a Rural Financial Coach, makes her an ideal candidate seeking to advance producers’ long-term best interests in a fair & strong supply chain.  

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