Plant Industry Forum highlights concerns with proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy

  • Plant Industry Forum highlights concerns with proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy image

The Plant Industry Forum (PIF) has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL). 

The PIF comprises 38 plant industries through representative bodies which are signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), with a combined annual value to the Australian economy in excess of $43.2 billion. 

Producers represented by these groups are also at the frontline of biosecurity management and response efforts, including Varroa Mite, and already contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to biosecurity funding in existing levies and other direct business costs. 

PIF committee Chair, Nathan Hancock, said biosecurity is vital to the productivity of plant industries and to the ability to access domestic and international markets. 

“Industry does value the effort put into this policy to address the viable funding of biosecurity into the future,” he said. 

“Biosecurity funding should be viewed as the whole system responsibility and asking growers and producers to tip in to Commonwealth Department of Agriculture finances with no oversight of how the money is spent does not sit well with industry.” 

Mr Hancock said there were concerns about the way the BPL contributions were to be calculated, spent and failure to acknowledge the significant contributions plant industries make to biosecurity preparedness via the EPPRD, Plant Health Australia and Research and Development levy systems. 

“Consultation on this levy has been less than desirable and we have so many unanswered questions about the collection, investment and transparency with no acceptable answers forthcoming,” he said. 

“We’re calling for the BPL to be scrapped and for industry to be invited to contribute to future strategic discussions about how to sustainably fund biosecurity into the future.”