Meat & Livestock News

Cattle Australia Calls for Fair Government Action on Controversial Biosecurity Levy


  • Cattle Australia urges the government to heed concerns over the Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL) Bill, emphasising the need for fair consultation and consideration of the agriculture sector’s feedback.
  • The organisation demands clarity on how the levy funds will be used, the levy collection mechanism, and assurances that the funds will directly enhance biosecurity measures.
  • Cattle Australia highlights the levy’s potential inequities and risks, advocating for a pause or reversal to prevent adverse impacts on producers already contributing to biosecurity through existing levies.

Cattle Australia (CA) has once more reached out to the Australian Government, advocating for a genuine engagement with grass-fed cattle producers and the wider agricultural community regarding the contentious Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL) Bill.

Dr Chris Parker, CA’s Chief Executive Officer, voiced frustration over the perceived lack of proper consultation and consideration of the industry’s feedback on the policy, which is feared to adversely affect primary producers nationwide.

Introduced in the Federal Budget announcement in May, the BPL has since been a point of contention, with CA and other agricultural sector groups consistently highlighting its potential to impose unfair burdens on producers. Despite these concerns, Dr Parker notes a lack of tangible response or adaptation from the government.

CA’s demands are clear and focused on ensuring the levy’s implementation does not unfairly disadvantage the agricultural sector:

  • A guarantee that levy funds will be directly allocated to biosecurity initiatives.
  • Detailed explanations on the levy’s collection method and the specific charges for different commodities.
  • Inclusion of a real-time industry consultation mechanism in the BPL’s design, aligning with the National Biosecurity Strategy’s sustainable funding actions.
  • Clarification on the proposed container levy and its compatibility with World Trade Organization (WTO) trade regulations.

Dr Parker insists these issues must be resolved before the legislation progresses further, emphasising the importance of direct biosecurity improvements as a result of the levy for primary producers. He firmly states that the industry cannot accept the levy without these concerns being addressed.

The BPL’s design has been critiqued for not aligning with the Productivity Commission’s recent report on levies, which underscores the policy’s potential risks and negative consequences for producers. Dr Parker highlights the unfairness of the proposed tax, which could see levy-paying producers shouldering additional costs while others contribute nothing to biosecurity efforts.

He also points out the flawed approach of applying the levy multiple times to an individual animal, calling for an immediate halt or reversal of the policy to avoid these unintended outcomes.

Australian grass-fed cattle producers, who already contribute significantly to the nation’s biosecurity through various levies, are particularly concerned about the BPL’s fairness and its alignment with existing efforts to uphold Australia’s biosecurity standards.

Dr Parker calls for a more equitable and effective funding model that enhances the biosecurity system without imposing undue burdens on those already investing in these critical measures.