‘Unfathomable’ levy on Aussie farmers

·2-min read
Nationals leader David Littleproud criticised a biosecurity levy on farmers. Picture: Gary Ramage

Regional Australia will bear the brunt of Labor’s tax reform plans as farming families battle a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Nationals leader David Littleproud said farmers would be forced to fork out for biosecurity under Labor’s 2023 federal budget.

“It is unfathomable the Labor government would ask farmers to pay for the biosecurity costs of importers,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The Coalition proposed a cost recovery model that importers would pay commensurate to the risk provided rather than farmers.

“The model was ready for implementation before the end of last year.”

Labor will splash hundreds of millions of dollars over four years on biosecurity measures under the party’s second annual budget.

The measures will be partly funded through a “protection levy” on Australian agricultural, fishery and forestry producers.

National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said the announcement was bittersweet for farmers.

David Littleproud
National Party leader David Littleproud said farmers would lose out under Labor’s tax reform plans. Picture: Martin Ollman

“We welcome the government’s commitment to cement and increase baseline Commonwealth funding into the budget, including through some increased chargers on importers and travellers. It’s important to see that locked in,” Ms Simson said.

“The move to have farmers foot the bill is a bitter pill to swallow. We’re already significant financial contributors.”

Ms Simson said that after years of consultation she was disappointed to see a scheme that didn’t force “risk creators” to contribute more.

Among the losers in Labor’s 2023 federal budget were truckers, who will be slapped with a 6 per cent increase on road use charges.

A further $872.5m worth of water security projects is also set to be “abandoned”, according to Mr Littleproud.

The Queensland MP claimed the Dungowan Dam and Emu Swamp Dam projects would be scrapped under Labor’s 2023 budget.

Funding could also be delayed in the Wyangala Dam wall raising and Hughenden irrigation schemes.

“Labor has pushed back critical funding needed for regional communities,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Not only is the Albanese government making us pay for their spending, they are also taking away our future by ripping away the tools we need to produce more and get it on your table cheaper.

“Smaller projects like sports ovals, playgrounds and libraries will also be ineligible for funding in most communities.”

Mr Littleproud claimed regional communities would be forced to wait two years to access the regional grants program.