A new biosecurity tax was announced in last week’s federal Budget funding an $845m Budget boost in measures aimed at keeping out pests and diseases. The tax will apply to farmers, fishers and the forestry industry. Along with a tax, the Federal Government flagged introducing a broader biosecurity import levy, consistent with international trade law obligations. Agriculture minister Murray Watt said the Government was locking in higher and more certain biosecurity funding while creating a fair system to pay for it that shares costs between taxpayers, importers, parcel senders, international travellers and producers. The biosecurity levy could raise $153m over the next three years from 1 July 2024 through a bill equivalent to 10% of their industry-led agricultural levies.
National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said the levy was a bitter pill to swallow, saying it puts it on farmers to bear the cost of managing pests and disease incursions. She said after years of consultation and discussion it was extremely disappointing to have to continue waiting for a meaningful contribution from risk creators. Simson expressed further disappointment with the Budget which according to her lacked any practical solutions which could provide price relief for households and a stronger more vibrant ag sector. The Budget fell short on road funding, tax incentives and measures to ease worker shortages in the regions.
Meanwhile, an increase of trucking fees flagged in the Budget could potentially further increase grocery prices according to transport and farming groups, warning it could force businesses to close. The Budget also detailed an increase in the Heavy Vehicle Road User Charge of 6% each year for the next three years. According to National Road Transport Association chief executive Warren Clark, the rising fees would raise $101m in the next financial year and more than $391m by 2026/27. Clark estimates trucking businesses will have to find more than $1bn somewhere for the fees and warned that if costs can’t be
Farmgate milk price outlook
· Freshagenda has released a Southern Australia milk price outlook for the coming season.
· The full season milk price paid to southern producers is expected to average $8.50kgMS in 2023/24 based on projected commodity prices, average manufacturing conversion costs and the industry product mix. The $A is expected to average US$0.70.
· There is likely to be significant variation dependent on product mix across milk buyers.
· Despite easing milk price farm margins will be helped by falling feed and fertiliser costs.
· Australian milk production is forecast to fall 3 to 5% in 2023/24 to between 7.6 and 7.8bn litres as El Nino conditions develop.
· With domestic product prices above international benchmarks, imports of butterfat and cheese are expected to increase.
passed onto customers and consumers, businesses would be forced to close. Australian Dairy Farmers president Rick Gladigau said the rise in the heavy vehicle tax would be felt by Australian dairy farmers with freight costs for milk, hay and grain likely to be passed onto them, adding further pressure to their businesses.