March 20, 2024

Labor’s proposed legislation for a new fresh food tax has been introduced in Parliament, in a move that will increase the cost of living and hurt families and farmers in Wide Bay.

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said Labor’s biosecurity protection levy will charge farmers for the biosecurity costs of importers bringing their product to Australia.

“Labor’s new fresh food tax is an extra cost in the midst of a cost of living crisis, that will hurt families in Wide Bay even more at the checkout,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Labor is treating Australian farmers with contempt and unfortunately farmers will inevitably be forced to pass new costs onto consumers.”

Labor will set the tax rate as a proportion of an industry’s average gross value of production over a three-year period, and it is expected to cost farmers $50 million each year.

However, the policy follows a disingenuous consultation process and is expensive, confusing, risky, and flawed, putting the entire voluntary levy system at risk.

“In what parallel universe would any Australian government tax their own farmers, to pay for foreigners to bring their products into this country,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This tax will drive the cost of Australian produce up, thereby making imports more attractive to consumers and Australian produce less competitive.

“Labor needs to listen to the strong concerns raised by all Australian producers and their representative groups by scrapping the new tax immediately.

“The Albanese Labor Government must detail the exact costs and the rate they will be taxed. The absence of this information only creates more confusion and anxiety.”

More than 50 agricultural representative groups previously signed a joint letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressing unified opposition to the new tax.

Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association Ltd Chief Executive Officer Peter Baldwin said 7000 collection agents have been left in the dark and are largely unaware they will have to collect the levy.

“Agents who are overburdened already will have very little time to collect the levy – or the government’s tax – and how to do so correctly. There is immense and utter confusion. If the biosecurity protection levy legislation suggests the collection agent will also have to provide the levy paper with an invoice, this will create a considerable regulatory burden,” Mr Baldwin said.

“Labor is out of its depth and doesn’t understand the industry and is determined to tax our farmers and prioritise importers,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien has called on the Albanese Labor Government to drop its flawed farmer tax and instead mirror the Coalition’s importer container levy policy, which makes importers pay for the cost of biosecurity protections.

“The Liberal and Nationals Coalition stand by our farmers and will fight Labor’s new fresh food farmer tax.”


In the spirit of Australia, I acknowledge all citizens who contribute to making our nation the greatest on earth.

I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

I also acknowledge the Australian taxpayers who, through their hard work, pay for the infrastructure, health, education, and emergency services that keep our proud nation healthy, safe, and prosperous.