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Study shows fresh food tax decreases productivity and increases living costs prompting calls for its removal

New findings reveal Labor's fresh food tax may hike living costs, hinder productivity. Criticised biosecurity levy burdens farmers; suggested importer fees for risk mitigation.

By news@gippsland - 14th December 2023 - Back to News

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said new research shows Labor's fresh food tax will not only drive up cost-of-living pressures, but also risks productivity growth. Mr Littleproud said the Productivity Commission's new report, Towards Levyathan? Industry levies in Australia proved Labor needed to axe its senseless new biosecurity tax.

Research shows agriculture levies diverted to general tax revenue; biosecurity levy shifts international importers' risks burden onto farmers

Research shows agriculture levies diverted to general tax revenue; biosecurity levy shifts international importers' risks burden onto farmers

Biosecurity levy criticisms

In a worrying sign for industry, the research found levies introduced in the agriculture sector, to raise funds to benefit producers, were now being imposed to simply raise general tax revenue. It also found levies were starting in agriculture but then branching out into other sectors and increasingly becoming a form of ad-hoc micro-taxation.

"The Productivity Commission's findings confirms what The Nationals have been saying since Labor's first Budget - that Labor's biosecurity levy, or their new tax on fresh food and farmers, is not a good way to fund biosecurity and industry doesn't like it."

"The Commission gave eight warning signs to the Biosecurity Protection Levy relating to other sectors benefiting, free-riding, the absence of a cost-benefit analysis, the levy not being imposed on an efficient tax base, not having widespread industry support, levy payers unlikely to monitor and influence, how the levy proceeds are used and that levy payers will not be able to vote to continue or discontinue the levy," Mr Littleproud said.

Bio levy opposition

The new biosecurity levy comes into effect on July 1, 2024, and will force farmers to pay for the biosecurity risks of international importers from other countries. "All farmers will be impacted by Labor's new tax, which will be passed onto families and push up the price of fresh food even more.

"This tax is also a handbrake on productivity and will hurt the agriculture industry. The Nationals, as part of a Coalition government, will stop Labor's new fresh food tax, in order to protect and support our farmers, while also helping to ease financial pressures on families," he said.

Farm tax reversal

Mr Littleproud added, "A future Coalition government will ensure Labor's fresh food tax is scrapped - we will not pass on $153 million in costs over three years, to make farmers pay for the biosecurity risks of our own foreign competitors."

"Instead of taxing Australian farmers, we will establish an 'importer container levy', as recommended by the independent Craik Biosecurity review. Under our plan, importers of foreign products will pay for the biosecurity risk they pose - not Australian farmers," he said.

Pictures from Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


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