New Tax On Farmers Will ‘Break The Camel’s Back’: Katter

Mar 27, 2024

WHILE earlier this month Australia’s farmers were sharing vulnerable stories with the Supermarket Inquiry hearings of their struggles to survive, this week the Federal Government has decided to move on taxing the agricultural sector further.

Katter’s Australian Party MP Bob Katter says the nation’s food producers should not be forced to make dual contributions to the Government’s Biosecurity Protection Levy.

The Levy is expected to commence from July 1, 2024 and is targeting primary producers citing that farmers “benefit considerably from Australia’s biosecurity status,” with the cost expected to be shared between taxpayers (44 per cent), producers (6 per cent), importers (48 per cent) and Australia Post (2 per cent).

Mr. Katter said that farmers were at the bottom of the supply chain and copped enormous production costs from fuel, packaging, freight and fertiliser.

In a submission made to the Minister’s Biodiversity Protection Levy Consultation, Mr. Katter argued that the Government would be better served if they banned imports of fresh produce.

“Stop the imports, stop the diseases, and there’s no need for huge levies – that’s how you really benefit primary producers,” Mr. Katter said.

The Levy has been strongly opposed by Mr. Katter since it was first prosed in a consultation by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture in October 2023.

“Without providing any feedback on consultation, the Albanese Government has introduced legislation to impose a levy on Australian farmers on the basis that they ‘benefit’ from our biosecurity status.

“What an insult. The reality is that Australian farmers are already bearing significant costs of biosecurity protection due to the decisions of successive governments that have allowed diseases imported produce into our country.

“While farmers are telling government inquiries about thousands of dollars of produce getting knocked back, the losses they cop, stagnant returns from supermarkets and how family farms are disappearing, here we are about to slug them with another tax.

“You keep putting weight on the old camel, eventually you’ll break the camel’s back. How many messages do you want?

“We had 276,000 farmers, then Mr. Keating started his (deregulation) dirty work, and the National Party carried it on. Now we have about 80,000 farmers. Well, you blokes won’t stop until we have none.”

In his submission towards consultation on the Biosecurity Levy Mr. Katter said the cost burden for biosecurity protection should be a core and fundamental obligation for the Australian Government.

“This responsibility should not be delegated to primary producers that have long borne the costs of successive government decisions in increasing biosecurity risks by allowing unnecessary and unjustified fresh produce imports into Australia.”