It’s time that all Australians heard the truth about the Government’s new Biosecurity Levy – a smokescreen of spin to hide an inefficient new tax that all Australians will pay.
Protecting our borders from pests and diseases is essential to protect Australia’s agricultural industry, our farmers and our export earnings. It also protects our comfort and way of life.
Shipping Australia’s members fully accept that biosecurity is a shared responsibility, and they already pay their share.
“For the past 20 years industry has been paying an increasing proportion of the total cost of biosecurity through cost recovery arrangements, processing fees and new levies”, Shipping Australia CEO Rod Nairn said.
But while industry continues to take on a larger share, the Government is reducing its budget appropriation to biosecurity.
“You can track the decline in the budget statements. The Government is allocating less to biosecurity now than it was in 2012 and this declines further throughout the forward estimates.
“The sad reality is that the Government is not taking biosecurity seriously, but they are introducing a new tax, disguised as a biosecurity initiative, to prop up consolidated revenue.”
There are two parts of this proposed levy that have got the whole shipping and import sector up in arms:
- The deceitful spin on this new tax, which is just a new tax. It is not hypothecated to biosecurity and will go to consolidated revenue, and
- The clumsy implementation process which has resulted in an unworkable tax proposal which is unfairly targeted and so inefficient that it will cost far more to administer and collect than the value of the tax itself.
Ordinary Australians will pay at least twice, maybe three or four times as much as the Government collects from the tax because of its inefficiency. This is because it is being targeted at the beginning of the logistics chain rather than the end. Every business in the chain will need to change their finance systems to collect, account for, and pass the levy on, and there will be administrative charges added to cover these costs.
“Australians will pay more for fuel, building materials, and imported goods such as vehicles, farm machinery and even food.
“It would be far more efficient and far less costly for every Australian if the Government met their funding obligations for biosecurity from their normal taxation revenue,” Nairn concluded.
Biosecurity is just as important to Australia as Defence, border security and cybersecurity. These are all ‘public good’ services that benefit every Australian. They all should be adequately funded by Government.
- A more detailed commentary on this proposed new tax is available here
- A joint industry statement is available here