Australia’s key freight logistics and shipping bodies have joined forces to question the Turnbull Government’s proposed Biosecurity Import Levy, which was included in the recent federal budget.
The Australasian Railway Association, the Australian Logistics Council, Ports Australia and Shipping Australia on May 17 asked for clarification into the new levy, specifically wanting to know how the revenue was to be spent.
Expected to earn $360 million in revenue, the proposed levy will charge $10.02 per incoming container and $1 per tonne of non-containerised cargo.
With just $76.6 million forecast to be spent over the same period on Australia’s biosecurity system, the lobby groups have asked the Australian Government to justify the new cost.
“Our concern is that this import levy has been announced with almost no engagement with the supply chain and with no plan on how it will be used in the Biosecurity System,” Ports Australia boss Mike Gallacher said.
“The complete lack of detail on this ambiguous proposal lends weight to the impression that this is a broad import levy across all goods coming into the country.”
Australian Logistics Council boss Michael Kilgariff said the Turnbull Government needed to be held accountable to provide details for all of its budget decisions, and said this measure was “no exception”.
“Until such details are made clear, a broad charge on every item imported from another country simply cannot be justified,” Kilgariff said.
“The freight logistics sector should not be used as a ‘cash cow’ to fund unrelated budget initiatives.”
“The proposed levy is a significant issue for ARA members and everyday Australians,” Australasian Railway Association boss Danny Broad said.
“The levy will ripple right through the supply chain and hit the end consumer. Every product that comes through our ports, onto our rail networks and delivered to the consumers will feel the effects of this levy.”
Broad said the logistics industry was keen to work with the government to improve biosecurity, but said “urgent clarification and rationale is needed” to detail how and why the new levy is necessary.
“[The levy] is being imposed with almost no consultation with those it will affect the most,” Broad concluded.