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NSW Farmers:

'Scrap the biosecurity bill'

NSW Farmers has fronted a Senate Inquiry to call for the proposed biosecurity tax on farmers to be scrapped, with farmers already paying their fair share of biosecurity dues.

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said despite a last-minute redesign, farm leaders remained opposed to the biosecurity levy bill and would continue to urge parliamentarians to vote against the levy's introduction over the coming weeks. "Farmers are already paying significant amounts of money in levies to fund biosecurity efforts in Australia, so asking them to pay millions more is utterly unfair when importers – as the real creators of biosecurity risk – are left free to operate without the burden of this bill," Mr Martin said.

"Our farm leaders have spoken, and our message is clear: this levy is totally flawed and unfair, and we need to review and renew our biosecurity funding models so we can ensure passengers and products entering Australia are being adequately charged for the costs of the risks they create. The creation of a container levy is a key way that risk creators can contribute to the biosecurity cause and ensure fair biosecurity funding moving forward."

With an additional $51.8 million to be collected from farmers under the proposed levy bill, Mr Martin said farmers would be extremely disappointed to see the bill pass Parliament.

"There is no clear or logical plan to collect this levy, let alone a clear and logical outline of what biosecurity measures this massive tax will actually fund, and yet we have just eight weeks until it is meant to be introduced," Mr Martin said.

"Farmers have many questions about this proposed levy, and tokenistic attempts to consult us at the eleventh hour just aren't going to cut it when the stakes are this high.

"We're all for keeping exotic pests and disease out of our country, but why double tax farmers when we are already stricken with huge pressures on production and when we are already significantly contributing to funding for Australia's biosecurity system?"

For more information:
Eliza Fessey
NSW Farmers
Tel.: +61 0427 411 220
Email: [email protected]

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