PC report confirms industry position that biosecurity levy is bad policy

14 December 2023

A report by the Productivity Commission has backed the National Farmers’ Federation’s view that the proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy is a deeply flawed policy littered with a suite of issues.

The ‘Towards Levyathan? Industry levies in Australia’s research paper by the Federal Government’s Productivity Commission have used the proposed levy as a case study, raising numerous red flags about the policy’s design.

“The report has identified the Biosecurity Protection Levy has a number of significant design faults – something the NFF has been saying consistently,” NFF President David Jochinke said.

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“The report highlights significant issues with the design, including equitability, accountability, efficiency, and a lack of clear links to outcomes valued by industry.

“Importantly, the report shows that concerns raised by the NFF and much of the industry were not simply playing politics or looking to avoid contributing more to the biosecurity system.

“The NFF has been very consistent in its approach to this issue. This is about the policy construct, not us wanting to avoid paying more.

“This report supports our concerns and it’s on the Government now to explain how it will address these issues prior to introducing legislation.

“In particular policies that may have an impact on the levy system are something we take incredibly seriously. You botch this and confidence in the whole system goes down.”

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Farmers’ concerns have been exacerbated by the rushed implementation timeline – with the levy to be in place by 1 July next year – timeline stakeholders have labelled ‘woefully inadequate’ for a policy of this size and complexity.

“This report should be ringing the alarm bells in the Albanese Government’s offices. It’s not too late to correct course.

“The NFF has tried to work constructively with the Government on this. We call on the Government again to at the very least pause the implementation timeline to show the industry that it is hearing our concerns and will allow more time to try and address them,” Mr Jochinke concluded.