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Grain Producers Australia welcomes the government’s move to make adjustments to the proposed biosecurity tax, to address some of the many inequities raised by farmers and their representative groups, and lack of transparency.

“However, we need to see the actual detail of these changes to know whether these modifications have actually improved fairness and addressed the significant, fundamental flaws in this proposal,” GPA Chair, Barry Large said.

“In particular, GPA remains concerned agricultural producers are being labelled ‘beneficiaries’ in justifying the imposition of this new levy/tax on them, when we know there are many beneficiaries of strong biosecurity.

“These beneficiaries extend from the paddock through to the supermarket checkout – and increased tax generation for the nation.

“When considering their position on the draft legislation, GPA urges Federal MPs and Senators to take time to understand the detail of the serious concerns raised by so many producers.

“In particular, whether those producers with existing biosecurity levies in place are being unfairly penalised and paying more, whilst the free riders will keep getting a free ride.

“Hitting farmers with another cost of doing business now via another tax does not align with the rhetoric about taking action to ensure farmers are receiving a fair share of the retail dollar.”

GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, said whilst the government had listened in making changes to update their policy, it was still unclear whether grain producers will pay any more or less than the proposed 10 per cent.

He said clarity was needed on what the actual rates will be for individual commodities and how this aligns with the levies producers already pay, to demonstrate any value or increased fairness.

“Producers already pay hundreds of millions of dollars in levies – including biosecurity – to deliver multiple public good benefits for the nation,” he said.

“GPA remains concerned about the processes undertake to implement this new ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy and it’s undermining of trust and confidence in the existing levy system.

“These systems, and the strong partnerships and collaboration they create across industry and government, are critical to delivering shared benefits – especially stronger biosecurity protections.

“We need to ensure this new policy actually improves biosecurity protections for producers and is not just a new mechanism for adding to government consolidated revenue, by more cost-shifting onto producers.

“Economic modelling which considers the range of concerns raised by producers – including current contributions to biosecurity across a range of areas – is critical to understand the policy.”



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