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Biosecurity Imports Levy - Minister for Agriculture Announcement  

Further to previous AFIF updates on the proposed DoA Biosecurity Imports Levy, the Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie has released the following announcement. 

Biosecurity report under consideration

10 September 2019

A report to the Australian Government released today by Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie, highlights widespread support in ensuring that Australia’s biosecurity system remains effective in protecting our agricultural industries against the threat of pests and diseases.

Minister McKenzie said the steering committee, led by independent chair David Trebeck, has built on the 2017 Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review that recommended a broad based levy on containers,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The committee received and considered 29 submissions in drafting the report which is important because it provides us with the views of our major importers and logistics operators—not just our agricultural sector.

“Our biosecurity system is vital in protecting our environment, human, animal and plant health from damaging pests and diseases that aren’t in Australia.

“The value proposition to the world for our food and fibre exports centres on our safe, clean and sustainable reputation—underpinned by our biosecurity status.

“The size and complexity of the task is increasing—and the risks are real.

“The volume of shipping cargo has increased by more than 30 per cent in the past nine years.

“Mail items from overseas have increased by a staggering 172 per cent in nine years in line with the prevalence of our online shopping habits and we have 60 per cent more people coming through our airports.

“We have a Passenger Movement Charge in place to help meet the cost of screening and inspecting people as they arrive.

“This industry report is a critical piece of the puzzle and the government will respond in due course.

“I want to thank all the members of the Biosecurity Levy Steering Committee for their work, and all who provided input to this report.”

The Biosecurity imports levy: a way forward report is available on the Department of Agriculture’s website. 

Webpage version - 

AFIF Comment

Brian Lovell, AFIF CEO, stated that as a member of the Biosecurity Imports Levy committee he was pleased that the Minister had authorised release of the Final report of the Committee, in order for all sectors of the affected industries to be in a position to view and understand the options and rationale behind the recommendations put forward.

In speaking with Minister McKenzie’s office this morning, Brian Lovell was informed that there was still no definitive time-frame around the date of the introduction of such a levy and as the original indicative date of September 1 has since passed, it would be unlikely for the Federal Parliament to be in a position to discuss the report in the near future.


In last week's AFIF Weekly News the Australian Financial Review reported 'the levy, which was first scheduled to begin on July 1 this year before being pushed back three months to 1 September, continues to be delayed due to resistance from sectors of the shipping industry.              

The federal government’s budget razor gang has met to try to sort out the design of a $100 million-a-year biosecurity import levy that is driving widespread anger in the shipping industry."   


AFIF will keep members informed of progress.