top of page

WPA retain total opposition to Biosecurity Protection Levy. The government is skirting a bit heavily!

Updated: Mar 5

Today WoolProducers are disappointed at the Albanese Governments attempt to rush through legislation for the imposition of a $50 million tax on Australian farmers, being sold as the “Biosecurity Protection Levy [sic].”.


The proposed tax seeks to fill a $50 million budget black hole in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.


WoolProducers General Manager, Adam Dawes, said “WoolProducers were one of the first grower groups to publicly oppose this levy, following announcement in the 2023 federal budget. Since that time there has been unanimous support amongst producer groups in opposing the tax. We have also seen 3 independent reports released that independently validate growers views that this, to put it diplomatically, poor policy”.


The Office of Impact Analysis (OIA) determined that the policy proposal for the BPL did not meet the requirement of what is considered ‘good practice’. The process undertaken by the department was deemed by (OIA) only to be ‘adequate’, a generous assessment at best given the disingenuous  statements referenced above. The approach taken by government on the BPL is of significant concern to WoolProducers.


The Productivity Commission’s recent report Towards Levyathan conducted a case study investigating the strength of the public policy case for the proposed BPL. The Productivity Commission identified eight warning signs that weakened the stated policy case for the proposed Levy.


Further to the findings of OIA and the Productivity Comission, the ANUs Tax and Transfer Policy Institute (TPPI) determined that the design of this levy (tax) is poor to say the very least. Alternative sources of funding for DAFF proposed by TTPI are:


  1. to increase charges for those who create the biosecurity threats, such as importers and travellers

  2. fund biosecurity protection through general revenue, given that the benefits flow to all Australians.


TTPI report co-author, Sasa Vanek was recently quoted saying “It’s like taxing bystanders who inhale second hand smoke”


“Why would farmers be want to be taxed $50 million by a department that can’t even hit the mark when it comes to “good practice” policy development?” Mr Dawes said.


Australian producers already contribute significant amounts to the national biosecurity SYSTEM. Despite WoolProducers asking DAFF on multiple occasions what Australian farmers already contribute to the biosecurity SYSTEM and answer has not yet been provided.


Mr Dawes said, “WoolProducers welcomes the Departments commitment to transparency via the proposed Sustainable Biosecurity Funding Advisory Panel. The proposed level of transparency should be business as usual for any government department, and industry seats at the table certainly shouldn’t come with a $50 million price tag. WoolProducers will consider the invitation to join the panel in the coming weeks, however this consideration must not be construed to in any way support the imposition of this tax on Australian wool growers”.


“How can the government take another $50 million from producers for biosecurity when they don’t know what producers are already contributing?” Mr Dawes said.


Mr Dawes said that “DAFF regulates biosecurity risk to a level that is acceptably low, but now zero. This implies that there will be some leakage at the border, including pests and diseases that may bypass border checks (e.g. Avian Influenza in wild birds). What does the government propose will happen when something gets through / bypasses the border and the surveillance and response functions are underfunded? Feels like a “not my job mate” stance from the Albanese government.


The creators of risk must pay their fair share for risks that their businesses present to Australian farmers.


WoolProducers Australia contacts:

Adam Dawes, General Manager

0455 442 776

Steve Harrison, President

0427 468 303

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