Tuesday, 13 February 2024
Cattle Australia (CA) is pleased the government has listened and sees the changes to the Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL) announced in Senate Estimates on Tuesday morning as a step in the right direction, but has reiterated its call for an equitable and systemic biosecurity outcome to be delivered.
CA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Parker, said industry is pleased Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has listened to grass-fed cattle producers, and the broader agriculture sector, and appreciates his willingness to take on board some of industry’s serious concerns surrounding the BPL.
“While our preference is that the Government capture all sectors in any levy arrangements, the grass-fed cattle industry appreciates now having a seat at the table in discussions surrounding the development and implementation of the levy, and the opportunity to work with Government to further understand the details of the amended BPL design,” Dr Parker said.
“We believe the BPL in its current form does not share the cost of biosecurity with all sectors of the economy, and maintain our position that a detailed analysis of who the beneficiaries and risk creators are will be required to achieve a truly equitable policy.
“As part of forthcoming discussions, we will seek more details about the design, implementation and oversight of the BPL.
“Without appropriate implementation, co-design planning, stakeholder oversight and adequate safeguards, the BPL will be just another tax that reduces the competitiveness of the grass-fed cattle industry – an industry that is essential to the Australian economy.”
Dr Parker said the grass-fed cattle industry fundamentally supports increased investment in biosecurity and was committed to working with Government to ensure such funding delivers maximum value and produces the essential outcomes needed by industry and the broader Australian community.
“The imposition of this levy must result in improved biosecurity outcomes as a result of enhanced funding and resourcing of measures for the next decade of biosecurity,” Dr Parker said.
Dr Parker said it is imperative that Government take existing expenses into due consideration when quantifying a biosecurity levy rate, to ensure the collection of funds is equitable across all industries prior to applying an additional proposed biosecurity protection levy.
“CA propose that these investments be specifically accounted for to encapsulate total investments by commodities,” Dr Parker said.
“It is critical that the collection of funds is transparent and used appropriately to leverage a stronger biosecurity system.”
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