top of page

Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL)

Thank you for taking the time to look at our WoolProducers’ newsletter, we hope that you find some useful or interesting information in this month’s edition.

This month we’ll discuss the ongoing debacle that is the Government’s proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL), which is a subject that we have written about previously. However, with Minister Watt seemingly hellbent on introducing this levy (more appropriately tax), on 1 July, 2024, it’s timely to provide an update.

This ill-conceived proposal needs an urgent rethink or withdrawal by the Government, as there are still many issues with the BPL as it is currently proposed.

WoolProducers continue to oppose the proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy (BPL), as outlined in our submission into the 2023 public consultation on the introduction of the BPL. It is worth noting that WoolProducers were the only national woolgrower representative group to provide a submission into this process.

In our submission, WoolProducers pointed out that given that woolgrowers pay one of the highest R&D levies in agriculture at 1.5%, that we would be paying disproportionately high amounts towards the BPL. In February the Government announced that there would be a new approach to the BPL where it would be a 10% tax on GDP, rather than a collection equalling 10% of the 2020/21 levy for each commodity.

While this is a better outcome for woolgrowers in that in the original proposal, we would have been paying 5.9% proportional contribution (or $2.92m collectively per annum) of the total amount, while in the revised/current proposal woolgrowers will now be providing 3.6% of the proportionate contribution (or $1.84m collectively per annum). While the Government is spruiking that they listened to industry during the public consultation and made appropriate changes, WoolProducers do not see this as a win even if it is a better outcome for those that we represent, the fact is that this tax should be scrapped altogether as it is nothing more than a desperate money grab.

WoolProducers, have been part of a 50-group alliance of agricultural representative groups across the grains, livestock, horticulture, dairy, forestry and seafood sectors who have been actively lobbying to try and halt the introduction of this tax, but yet the Government still continues to bulldoze through with this unfair proposal.

Surely the recent collaboration by the Coalition, Greens and Independents who all voted against the BPL in the lower house should be enough for Labor to understand that this is really bad policy.

While WoolProducers would have preferred that this didn’t make it through to the Senate, this show of force by all non-Labor MPs sends a strong message.

WoolProducers also welcomes the referral of the Agriculture (Biosecurity Protection) Levies Bill 2024 and related bills for inquiry by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee. WoolProducers will be making a submission into this process as well, with the report from the Committee due on 10 May.

WoolProducers supports and is an active advocate for the notion of a ‘shared responsibility’ framework for Australia’s biosecurity system. As per the endorsed National Biosecurity Statement (NBS), stakeholders in this system include the Australian government, state and territory governments, representative bodies (industry), research organisations and individuals.

WoolProducers supports a sustainable funding mechanism for Australia’s entire biosecurity system, however this support is predicated on genuinely shared responsibilities, which includes funding across the spectrum of stakeholders, both the beneficiaries and risk creators with respective contributions being proportionate and equitable.

The Government’s claim that the BPL will support a “Strengthened and Sustainably Funded Biosecurity System” is nonsense. The $50 million tax being imposed on producers is little more than a budget hole filler for DAFF who failed to cost recover adequately to cover the cost of their regulatory activities.

Under this BPL proposal, producers will be directly subsidising Federal Government regulatory functions, which is simply not the responsibility of industry and producers. This cash grab flies in the face of the intent of the National Biosecurity Strategy.

Australian producers and industry already contributes considerably to this system through existing national subscriptions, national levies such as those flowing to Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia, and state levies like rates paid to the Local Land Services in NSW and the Sheep and Goat Industry Funding Scheme in Western Australia along with private investment into their own businesses, such as the nearly $22,000pa that 85% of land managers spent to control pest and weed management as reported by ABARES. Industry also contributes towards biosecurity system policy development and determination, particularly through Peak Industry Councils, such as WoolProducers.

Despite industry asking DAFF on multiple occasions what Australian farmers already contribute to the biosecurity system an answer has not yet been provided. How can the government take another $50 million from producers for biosecurity when they don’t know what producers are already contributing?

The claim by Government that producers will only contribute 6% to the biosecurity system is disingenuous as it fails to acknowledge the significant contribution already made by producers through private investment, state and federal levies.

Risk creators need to start proportionately contributing to the biosecurity system in a more holistic manner, acknowledging that there has been a recent increase in fees paid by importers in real terms. The proposed “increases” to fees and charges associated with import clearance activities are merely to recover costs associated directly with those activities. WoolProducers again call for the imposition (at the very minimum) of an importation or container levy, as has been introduced by New Zealand with no negative impacts to trade relations.


WoolProducers Australia contacts:

Jo Hall, CEO

0488 554 811

About WoolProducers’ Australia

WoolProducers plays a critical role in working closely with companies and entities funded by woolgrower funds including compulsory levies or fees for service.

Its mission is to develop constructive and profitable outcomes for woolgrowers nationally.

The agency is responsible for appointing a director to each of the Australian Wool Exchange and the Australia Wool

Testing Authority, promoting good corporate governance and ensuring that the interests of growers are met.

WoolProducers maintains a working relationship with Australian Wool Innovation as the voice of woolgrower shareholders. It aims to contribute to AWI’s programs for the benefit of growers, promoting responsible use of levy funds and ensuring good corporate governance.

WoolProducers is the sole wool industry member of Animal Health Australia, and as such, carries a significant responsibility for decision making on behalf of the industry in the event of an emergency animal disease outbreak.

As the only wool grower organisation with membership of the National Farmers’ Federation, WoolProducers is responsible for providing key policy advice on behalf of our members, and other wool growers, to Australia’s peak farm body.

WoolProducers also works closely with the Federal Government Departments on key issues such as animal health and welfare, biosecurity, pest management control, natural resource management, drought preparedness, emergency animal disease outbreak preparedness and industry development, including research, trade and logistics.


bottom of page