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The Australian Logistics Council, Australasian Railway Association, Ports Australia and Shipping Australia have joined together to call for clarification of how the biosecurity levy, announced by the Australian Government in the recent Federal Budget, will operate. 

The proposed Biosecurity Import Levy will charge $10.02 per incoming container and $1 per tonne of non-containerised cargo, generating an estimated revenue of $360 million.

Ports Australia chief executive Mike Gallacher said, “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.

“The complete lack of detail on this ambiguous proposal lends weight to the impression that it is a broad import levy across all goods coming into the country.

“The revenue measure estimates $360 million over three years. Only $76.6 million of this is will be spent enhancing Australia’s Biosecurity System over the same period."

He said the port sector had stringent biosecurity measures and would always continue to leverage its expert capabilities to meet the Australian Government’s objectives on biosecurity.

Shipping Australia chief executive Rod Nairn a budget that promised tax cuts for all Australians would simultaneously slug Australians almost $290 million to import the goods they used every day, with no clear explanation of the biosecurity benefit. 

 Australian Logistics Council managing director Michael Kilgariff, said, “Measures in the Budget are expected to be accurately costed. There should be no exception for this one.

“Until such details are made clear, a broad charge on every item imported from another country simply cannot be justified. The freight logistics sector should not be used as a ‘cash cow’ to fund unrelated Budget initiatives.

“Not only will everyday consumers be impacted by this measure on containerised goods, but anyone importing non-container goods will pay $1 a tonne.

“That means a construction business importing 50,000 tonnes of concrete will now have to pay an additional $50,000. Imagine the impact such a measure will have on infrastructure costs."

The Australasian Railway Association chief executive, Danny Broad, said, “The proposed levy is a significant issue for ARA members and every day Australians. 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."

Industry challenges biosecurity levy