Statement on biosecurity levy
24 February 2019
Australia's agriculture industry is worth $60 billion and at least 300,000 jobs.
If a foreign pest or disease made it into Australia it could ruin agriculture. For instance, if foot and mouth disease was imported into Australia, it would result in at least $50 billion in livestock industry losses.
This would send food prices skyrocketing for everyday consumers.
It makes sense that those who create risk should contribute proportionately to our biosecurity screening.
Most stakeholders accept this.
If the taxpayer is burdened with all the costs of biosecurity, then importers will never take their part of the responsibility of keeping Australia free from pests seriously.
This Coalition Government announced a levy on importers in the last budget to allow us to invest in more efficient biosecurity measures. Invading pests and diseases can come in on the hulls of ships as well as the decks and storage compartments, as well as in the cargo itself.
We've rightly heard concerns of importers around various levy designs the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has presented during consultation on this levy. Consequently I am establishing an industry steering committee so industry itself can help design the levy.
The levy will help keep our clean green advantage and will be done in a calm and methodical manner. There is too much at risk to our nation if we don't continue to protect our borders.