What does this Budget deliver for the food and agribusiness industry?
Broad-based biosecurity levy introduced
The Budget introduces a new biosecurity levy on all agricultural, forestry and fishery products from 1 July 2024, providing much needed financial support to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Following public revelations earlier this year regarding the perilous financial situation of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, this Budget proposes a broad-based biosecurity levy.
The plan is to add 10% on top of the 2020-21 agricultural produce levies. For example, where the total levies per tonne of rice is $6, the additional biosecurity levy is anticipated to add $0.60 per tonne.
The measure is expected to raise $153 million over three years from 2024-25, which will be applied against $845 million allocated to biosecurity funding over the next four years.
The Food & Agribusiness sector is potentially exposed to biosecurity threats, and in our view, the proposed broad-based measures seem a fair way to ensure that all participants contribute to the cost of biosecurity measures which largely benefit agribusinesses.
The current framework for levies and charges applied to the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors is complex, and currently under review. Any changes to agricultural levies at this time are likely to be controversial. However, BDO considers the introduction of the biosecurity levy to be a prudent financial management measure for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.