Beef levy system needs an overhaul: Senate Report

A senate inquiry into the grass-fed cattle levy has delivered seven recommendations for an overhaul of the tax.

The levy system has been criticised as lacking transparency, chair of the committee, Western Australian Labor Senator Glenn Sterle told ABC Rural.

The first recommendation is that Chief amongst them is that a producer-owned body be established to be in charge of how levies are spent.

“It would have to be a democratically elected body. There is no democracy there now.” Sterle said.

“But that all ties in with the levy collection, so everyone knows who sells what, so there's no make-up of numbers.

The remaining recommendations are as follows:

  • The committee recommends the establishment of a cost-effective, automated cattle transaction levy system.
  • legislation be changed so that levies paid by processors are recognised as processor (or slaughter) levies and not as producer (or cattle transaction) levies.
  • The Australian National Audit Office conduct an audit of the cattle transaction levy system, tracing the levy from inception and focusing on the revenue from, and expenditure of, the respective components of the levy.
  • The Red Meat Advisory Council be dissolved and a new system is established to manage and disperse earnings from the Red Meat Industry Reserve Fund, in consultation with the industry.
  • The status of the MLA Donor Company as an approved donor under the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997 is revoked.
  • The Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the cattle industry, conduct an analysis of the benefits, costs and consequences of introducing legislation akin to the Packers and Stockyards Act 1921 and Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act 1999.

 

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