Meat & Livestock News

Cattle Australia Advocates for Fairness in Proposed Biosecurity Levy

Cattle Australia (CA) is actively urging the government for a transparent and equitable approach regarding the proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL). As part of a collective of 50 agricultural producer representative groups, CA has recently addressed a letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, calling for an immediate review and rectification of the proposed tax, citing its fundamental flaws.

The policy proposal, as it stands, is not in line with the recommendations of the recent Productivity Commission report, which evaluates such policies against established criteria. The independent analysis by the Productivity Commission also echoes the industry’s concerns about the potential risks and adverse effects the tax could have on producers.

Dr Chris Parker, Chief Executive Officer of CA, expressed disappointment over the lack of consultation with CA, the Prescribed Industry Body for the grass-fed cattle sector, before the BPL’s announcement in the Commonwealth’s May Budget. Dr Parker highlighted the inadequacies of the consultation process post-announcement, stressing that the government has yet to address the industry’s significant concerns about the levy’s inequities.

CA is insisting that the design of the new BPL includes a mechanism for genuine and ongoing industry consultation, both in its implementation and management, aligning with the actions outlined in the government’s National Biosecurity Strategy.

The organisation criticises the current tax proposal for disproportionately impacting those who already contribute significantly to biosecurity through existing levies, while others evade such responsibilities. CA views this as an unfair, “one-size-fits-all” approach and is advocating for an immediate pause or reversal of the proposal to prevent these unintended consequences.

Dr Parker emphasised the commitment of Australian producers to biosecurity, noting their substantial contributions through various levies, including those specifically for biosecurity. He argued that the current proposal lacks fairness and is fundamentally flawed, particularly highlighting the inequity for the cattle industry where the levy could be applied multiple times to an individual animal.

CA is calling on the Treasury to undertake a thorough economic analysis and modelling of the policy proposal. This includes clarifying the criteria used to designate agricultural producers as the sole “beneficiaries” of the biosecurity system, ignoring others who also benefit from robust biosecurity and food security measures.