Industry groups from a broad range of import, shipping, transport, manufacturing, energy and export sectors have had enough.
In a joint statement released today industry groups highlight the confusion over the need for the levy, especially now that industry is already paying an increasing proportion of Australia’s biosecurity costs.
They are also concerned that:
- the implementation is rushed,
- there has been no assessment of the flow-on costs to consumers, or
- how the tax will impact Australia’s agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, energy, mining and construction industries.
Ultimately, the statement urges the Government to remove this proposed levy from the 2019 budget and engage with industry to develop a fair and equitable model that improves Australian biosecurity.
The full text of the release is available here.
Shipping Australia has made a number of constructive suggestions to the Minister for Agriculture and his department over the past 10 months, but so far these have been rejected.
The latest iteration of the levy proposal places a massive load on the shipping industry through a charge on the GRT of every vessel arriving in Australia. This is in addition to charges on containers, bulk and break-bulk sea-freight imports.
The new levy proposal is flatly rejected as unfair.
The shipping and import industries already pay more than their fair share through:
- an inflated vessel arrival charge that subsidises domestic ballast water management,
- installation of expensive ship ballast water treatment systems,
- the offshore container hygiene scheme to clean the outsides of containers from pest-risk areas,
- off-shore and in-transit treatment of cargo to reduce biosecurity risks prior to arrival,
- substantial, fully cost-recovered inspections by DAWR officers, and
- the operational costs of ship delays arising from DAWR inspections, and further cargo treatments
Minister Littleproud’s announcement a week ago to establish a group of industry experts to consider the levy is a step in the right direction. But it can’t be taken seriously unless the proposed levy is removed from the 2019 budget and the industry experts are given sufficient time to do their work.