top of page


Grain Producers Australia welcomes the Australian Greens and other federal crossbenchers supporting Australian farmers in taking a strong stance against the proposed Biosecurity Tax, based on genuine concerns about fundamental design flaws.

A debate was held in the Federation Chamber yesterday, in seeking to pass the bills that are seeking to introduce the new Biosecurity Protection Levy on all Australian farmers by July 1. HERE

The debate was dominated by overwhelming opposition to the proposal, highlighting multiple policy faults and calls for drastic, genuine improvements.

The Australian Greens stated they will be voting against the bills in the House of Representatives and reserving their final position in the Senate, pending consultations with the government.

The proposal is also expected to be scrutinised at a Senate Committee inquiry, where producers and others can table their concerns – a move GPA says is critical to shine a proper light on basic transparency and fairness principles.

This includes allowing consultations to occur on the recent changes made to the policy by government; including shifting from a 10 per cent rate on top of all existing levies, to one based on GVP calculations for all producers, and the new Sustainable Biosecurity Funding Advisory Panel.

GPA Chair and WA grain producer, Barry Large, said the level of opposition expressed during debate clearly indicated that independent members of parliament had taken time to meet and speak with producers who’ll be hit with the new tax, and they’d assessed the policy proposal on merits.

“This proposed Biosecurity Tax is now on life support, with the bills set to make their way into the Senate in an ambulance with sirens blaring, to undergo emergency operations,” he said.

“From day one, GPA has said the devil’s in the detail of this proposal and yesterday’s debate clearly demonstrated this fact. The more independent scrutiny that’s applied to this policy, the more questions it raises, which continue to go unanswered.

“A robust process is needed, and radical overhaul required, before this proposal can actually pass the fairness and equity tests and be supported by producers.

“Cosmetic surgery won’t cut it – unless this is all just another way of making farmers pay for another levy that’s being disguised as a tax, to raise funds for consolidated government revenue.”

Pic: GPA Chair, Barry Large.

Mr Large said the debate sent another strong, independent message to government about the policy’s fundamental flaws – adding to those already expressed in expert analysis by the Productivity Commission, the Australian National University and Office of Impact Analysis.

He also acknowledged and welcomed the strong contributions made by rural Coalition MPs – including those from the major grain producing electorates of Australia – who shared the concerns of cross-bench members, who also spoke out strongly against it.

“We thank members of parliament who assessed this bill on merit and took time to listen to their farmers and farmer representative groups to help them decide the right way forward,” he said.

“We continue to urge all cross-bench senators to meet with producers and listen to their concerns about why this proposal is not fair or equitable, to help them decide its future fate.

“A Senate inquiry would also provide a critical opportunity to hear evidence from the many beneficiaries of producer levies who agree that biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility, but have been silent so far.”

Mr Large said he also supported the statement made by Independent Federal Member for Indi, Helen Haines, that an inquiry by the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport needed to allow genuine opportunity for these various concerns to be addressed, with a decent amount of time for submissions to be made, and scrutiny to be applied.

Some concerns raised about the proposal during debate include:

  • It was illogical and unfair to tax producers more for biosecurity and not the risk-creators.

  • Producers already pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year in various levies, including for funding biosecurity, which deliver multiple public good benefits including environmental gains, increased economic activity and tax generation.

  • Producers contribute state and federal levies and pay for biosecurity in their own businesses, but these costs have not been calculated in the ‘sustainable’ funding model.

  • Beneficiaries also haven’t been quantified in the policy, but producers will pay more despite facing escalating pressures; including to produce food cheaply in a cost-of-living crisis.

  • Producers are mostly price-takers so any additional costs – ie a new levy – are passed back onto farmers, from higher up the supply chain, adding even more production pressures.

  • $50 million should come from general taxation revenue, not another levy on producers.

  • Government promised to advance a levy on containers (risk-creators), as sought by producers and recommended in the Craik Review in 2017 – but this still hasn’t been delivered and certainty/clarity must be provided by government, on this matter.

  • Poor consultation processes have contributed to the flawed policy design – and strengthened the opposition of farmers and distrust in the processes.

  • Good consultation delivers better outcomes and builds genuine trust with those impacted by the policy (levy).

  • Terms of Reference has not been provided for Government’s new Sustainable Biosecurity Funding Advisory Panel – but its role is critical to the actual value proposition and to provide transparency and accountability of spending, to strengthen protections for producers.

  • ·GDP model will be an administrative nightmare for producers – many remain unaware the new levy is set to be introduced, by July 1.




bottom of page