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Calls to scrap new biosecurity levy on farmers

SOMERSET Regional Council is calling on the Federal Government to scrap its new biosecurity levy on farmers.

Published: 25th May 2023

SOMERSET Regional Council is calling on the Federal Government to scrap its new biosecurity levy on farmers.

The new tax was announced by the Federal Government during its budget on 9 May.

The Biosecurity Protection Levy on Australian producers of agricultural, forestry and fishery products will come into effect from 1 July 2024. Budget papers show that the Government expects to raise $74.6m from biosecurity levies per year from 2024.


Mayor Graeme Lehmann slammed the levy stating it would place further financial burden on farmers.

“The agricultural sector is critical to the Somerset region's prosperity,” Cr Lehmann said.

“I believe as a Council we must stand up for our farmers who are already doing it tough and request the Federal Government reconsider and reverse this unfair biosecurity tax and burden.”

Somerset Councillor Sean Choat added his voice to call on the Federal Government to scrap its new biosecurity levy on farmers.  

"This new tax is unfair, unjustified and ill-conceived and will damage Australia’s economy and undermine the competitiveness of Australian exports," Cr Choat said.


Cr Choat described the levy as a "sneaky slap in the face for regional Australia" and a "cash-grab on already struggling rural communities". 

Council encouraged all Somerset residents to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with local producers to condemn the new tax.

"It’s regional communities like the Somerset who already do the heavy lifting in maintaining biosecurity that are being unfairly targeted by this new tax," Cr Choat said.

Since the budget announcement, The National Farmers Federation pointed out that farmers already "bear the cost of managing historical pest and disease incursions and face the enormous threats posed by pests and diseases on our doorstep" but that farmers are not the risk creators who introduced the pests to Australia.


Council will write to the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry requesting that the Australian Government reconsider and reverse the new biosecurity protection levy announced in the budget on 9 May 2023 and further suggest the government fairly apply the levy to industries that create the most risk to Australia's biosecurity, such as import industries, rather than to Australian farmers who already deal with the impacts of Australia's historical biosecurity failures every day. 


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