Friday, July 19, 2024

Controversial biosecurity levy attracts fresh criticism: NFF

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National Farmers’ Federation, Media Release, 21 February 2024

Another independent body has today raised concerns the Government’s proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy “does not pass critical scrutiny”, validating the claims of Australia’s 85,000 farming families.  

Independent academics from the Australian National University‚Äôs Tax and Transfer Policy Institute (TTPI) have backed widespread condemnation of the Government’s proposed policy which is due to come into effect in just a matter of months. 

In a policy briefing paper published today on the TTPI’s website, the Institute questions the economic justification and design of the proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL), pointing to an alternative model charging risk creators.

The Institute’s detailed analysis of the proposed levy concludes that “overall, the government’s package to implement the BPL does not pass critical scrutiny” and “given the list of weaknesses of the proposed BPL, an alternative policy approach is desirable”.  

In assessing alternative options, the exploration of alternative models such as charging risk creators is flagged, with the author’s suggesting “a tax on those who create the most biosecurity risk could be introduced to align the marginal private cost with the marginal social cost, creating an efficient market outcome”.  

Even following recent changes made by the Government to the levy’s design, the TTPI notes that “the revised policy’s approach of setting the levy according to industry GVP is at odds with standard tax practice”.  

This work by the TTPI builds on the analysis conducted by the Productivity Commission in December 2023 which provided a similar scathing critique of the policy. 

In commenting on the paper, NFF President David Jochinke said the report was another example of independent analysis supporting the issues raised by producers.  

“We’ve said from the outset that this is a flawed policy and that producers across the length and breadth of the agricultural sector oppose it.

“Here we have yet another example of a respected institution outlining that these claims are entirely valid. 

“The Minister has shown a willingness to listen, having attempted to tweak the proposal in recent weeks, however it is now clear that the policy should not proceed in its current form.

“Producers have welcomed increased contributions from taxpayers and travellers to biosecurity efforts, and have made clear that we are more than willing to work with government on ways the agricultural sector can contribute to strengthening our Australia’s biosecurity system, but this policy is simply not the way to do it.” 

The TTPI report can be accessed here.


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