The federal government is reportedly risking a $300 million hole in its budget by failing to bring in a new levy on time.
The coalition originally flagged in its 2018/19 budget plans to introduce a biosecurity levy on shipping containers at the start of July this year.
But in the 2019/20 budget the start date was shifted to September 1. Now The Australian Financial Review is reporting this deadline is also likely to be missed, as legislation for the levy is still to come before parliament.
The levy is meant to raise $305 million over three years to help pay for measures to identify and respond to foreign pests and diseases.
Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie says the government is still consulting with industry on the levy.
But Labor Agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the process was a mess.
"Right now our biosecurity defences are down and will be down for many more months because of government greed and incompetence," he told the AFR.
The cargo shipping industry is against the measure, which is also set to be applied to ships arriving empty to load up on coal and iron ore for export.