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Grain Producers Australia says the weight of independent evidence and opposing views are continuing to escalate, in raising serious red flags and concerns about fundamental flaws in the Federal Government’s proposed biosecurity tax.

GPA Chair, Barry Large, said this evidence was based on proper independent scrutiny and economic, policy principles which needed to be recognised and acted on, by all elected representatives.

“All Australian producers who’ll be hit with this new tax are opposed to this flawed policy proposal, in one shape or another, and want the government to scrap it immediately,” he said.

“In support of this unified stance, in the Lower House today, everyone but Labor voted against the bills that are seeking to implement this new tax on all Australian farmers by July 1, with the Liberals and Nationals joined by the Greens and all crossbench MPs.

“Compelling speeches during debate have also highlighted numerous fundamental defects in the policy, such as making producers pay more instead of biosecurity risk-creators and flawed consultation processes, including strong and informed contributions from Wentworth MP Allegra Spender, Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie and Indi MP Helen Haines.”

Mr Large said the strength of this opposing vote in the Lower House also clearly demonstrates the true value of independent scrutiny and policy evaluation, based on merit.

And the benefits of political representatives engaging with producers and taking the time to listen and understand the concerns of those directly impacted by such government policies, he said.

“This vote also sends another strong signal to the government on why they should drop this flawed proposal and work towards rebuilding trust with producers and their representatives to actually deliver proper solutions, achieved through genuine engagement on policy design,” he said.

“As opposed to the tick-a-box, retrospective ‘consultations’ we’ve seen after bad policy such as this has already been announced.”

GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, urged all cross-bench Senators to follow the example set by their Lower House colleagues and do the right thing.

“We encourage these Upper House members to meet with producers and their representative groups to understand the reasons why they strongly oppose this flawed proposal – including why it still remains unfair and inequitable, despite recent changes,” he said.

“This is not about the rates charged to producers, no matter how big or small – it’s about core policy principles, standards and integrity that have been totally ignored in the rush to hit farmers with another cost of doing business, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

“Today’s vote shows the proposal still fails to pass the fairness and equity tests, after being assessed on merit, with a clear message from non-partisan voices.

“This vote also demonstrates this new biosecurity tax is directly in the firing line and exposed at the next election, if Labor loses their majority in the Lower House and there’s another hung parliament.”




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