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Foreign biosecurity threats - Aussie Farmers in financial risk.

The seats of Grey and Barker are in the top ten federal seats in the country for the number of farm owners and managers. By way of example Barker has over 940 grape growers, over 120 growers of fresh vegetables and over 360 fruit and nut growers. Grey is home to over 1200 oilseeds and pasture growers, over 600 sheep farmers and breeders and over 2000 mixed cropping and livestock farmers.

All of these farmers employee people to work with them on their farms and provide jobs; over 150 thousand jobs between the two seats are directly related to or as a result of farming.

Farmers are already paying industry levy's that go towards developing industry and maintaining biosecurity. So why do they need to pay twice with a Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL)?

In 2017 the independent review of the intergovernmental agreement on biosecurity, the Craik Review, was presented to government. Some key points from the review -

  • Investments from industry and contributions from community, especially through rates and levies, warrant greater acknowledgement.

  • In 2015-16 around 57 per cent of national system expenditure was funded by industry.

  • At the Australian government level the contribution is even greater with over 70 percent of biosecurity expenditures funded by industry (page 102 of the report).

  • Much of the material that is a concern to the Nation's biosecurity arrives via containers and sea going vessels.

The panel formed the view that a broad based Levy should be placed on containers. A fee of 10 dollars per twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) would generate approximately 42 million dollars in revenue per annum; this figure would increase and decrease with import flows and had scalability to risk.

Those who cause the risks should be paying to reduce the threat of biosecurity breaches that their activity causes. Why are those who are already paying, being made to pay for the risks caused by others?

Australian farming industry should not be picking up the tab for their international competitors.


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