AARON VIOLI MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CASEY
15 May 2023
2023-24 Budget: Biosecurity tax to be felt by farmers, passed on to consumers
Australian families were hopeful this budget would provide relief for skyrocketing grocery
bills, energy bills and mortgage repayments.
Instead, Labor is quietly introducing Australia’s first ever tax on fresh food – which will
leave farmers no choice but to pass on costs to consumers at the checkout.
Labor’s budget proposes an increase in agricultural levies set at a rate equivalent to 10
percent of the 2020-21 industry-led agriculture levies from July 2024. This is expected to
raise $153 million over three years to fund their new biosecurity model.
Agriculture Minister Murray Watt recently released a statement stating the “Australian
government is locking in higher, ongoing and more predictable biosecurity funding.”
But Labor’s idea for higher, ongoing and more predictable biosecurity funding is to tax
hardworking Australian farmers.
“Labor are going to tax Australian farmers for biosecurity controls that need to be imposed
on foreign importers, rather than charging the foreign importer themselves,” Federal Member
for Casey, Aaron Violi MP said.
“Farmers hoping for increased biosecurity have been dealt a bittersweet hand, with Labor
turning to farmers for a handout to fund their new system,” he said.
“The fact is farmers aren’t going to be able to absorb these extra costs. Things are tough
without this added tax. Agricultural producers will have no choice but to pass that cost on to
consumers, who will end up paying more at the check-out,” Mr Violi said.
“Businesses that grow and transport our food are under significant pressure, from workforce
shortages to weather-related crop losses. The government needed to address these issues to
achieve price relief for everyday Australians on their grocery bills,” he said.
Labor’s new truckie tax only adds to the price pain. Australia’s trucking industry will be
slugged an additional $1.6 billion over three years, with the Heavy Vehicle Road User
Charge to increase from 27 to 32 cents a litre.
“Everything we produce in Casey in our local farms gets to consumers via a truck. Trucking
companies are going to have no choice but to pass those cost pressures onto consumers,
which makes life harder for families already dealing with the cost-of-living crisis,” he said.