Scrap Biosecurity Bill

NSW Farmershas fronted a Senate Inquiry to call for the proposed biosecurity tax onfarmers to be scrapped, with farmers already paying their fair share ofbiosecurity dues.

NSW FarmersPresident Xavier Martin said despite a last-minute redesign, farm leadersremained opposed to the biosecurity levy bill and would continue to urgeparliamentarians to vote against the levy’s introduction over the coming weeks.

“Farmersare already paying significant amounts of money in levies to fund biosecurityefforts in Australia, so asking them to pay millions more is utterly unfair whenimporters – as the real creators of biosecurity risk – are left free to operatewithout the burden of this bill,” Mr Martin said.

“Our farmleaders have spoken, and our message is clear: this levy is totally flawed andunfair, and we need to review and renew our biosecurity funding models so wecan ensure passengers and products entering Australia are being adequatelycharged for the costs of the risks they create.

“Thecreation of a container levy is a key way that risk creators can contribute tothe biosecurity cause and ensure fair biosecurity funding moving forward.”

With an additional$51.8 million to be collected from farmers under the proposed levy bill, MrMartin said farmers would be extremely disappointed to see the bill pass Parliament.

“There isno clear or logical plan to collect this levy, let alone a clear and logicaloutline of what biosecurity measures this massive tax will actually fund, andyet we have just eight weeks until it is meant to be introduced,” Mr Martinsaid.

“Farmers havemany questions about this proposed levy, and tokenistic attempts to consult usat the eleventh hour just aren’t going to cut it when the stakes are this high.

“We’re allfor keeping exotic pests and disease out of our country, but why double taxfarmers when we are already stricken with huge pressures on production and whenwe are already significantly contributing to funding for Australia’sbiosecurity system?”

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