Biosecurity Levy Moves Closer To Completion

SOUTH AUSTRALIA - The State Government's Biosecurity Fee is a step closer to passing through Parliament with the Liberal Party unwilling to rule out its support.
calendar icon 24 November 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Malcolm Sutton for StockJournal reports that, rather than join the Independents in blocking a section of the Draft Livestock Bill 2011 that proposes a weekly $1 Animal Health Biosecurity Fee for farmers, the opposition will instead move to have the levy scrutinised by a committee.

Opposition Agriculture spokesperson Adrian Pederick said the party wanted the draft bill put before the Environmental Resources and Development Committee.

"We want to research why the government wants to put this further impost on farmers," he said.

"We have to ensure there is no doubling up of biosecurity funds with the federal controls already in place."

He said the opposition needed to be mindful of budgetary impacts and would not make up its mind until it sees the final legislation, and how the State's finances would be affected by the levy.

"Our position is that we do not necessarily support it, but we may not oppose it," Mr Pederick said.

The MP was one of several Liberals who attended a briefing by South Australian Dairy Farmers Association vice-president James Stacey last week. Mr Stacey wanted the levy scapped.

The proposed bill would recoup $1.42 million annually for the animal health programme from farmers who run more than 10 head of livestock, 100 poultry or 10 beehives.

Mr Stacey said SADA's next move would be to make direct contact with Agriculture Minister Gail Gago and encourage rural SA to put more pressure on Liberal MPs to abolish the "new tax".

"Liberal MPs were understanding of where we were coming from, but they couldn't bring themselves to say they would knock the levy proposal on the head," he said.

Mr Stacey said graziers were already paying their fair share into biosecurity programmes through organisations such as Animal Health Australia, Meat & Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia, and funds should be sourced elsewhere because there was more than one industry at stake.

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