Change to Biosecurity Levy Collection

DAWR advised this week that the proposed ‘stevedore collection model’ has changed to a Biosecurity Levy against vessel owners, operators or their agents.

Industry participants rejected the stevedore collection model for the Biosecurity Fee proposed by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) back in June, and lobbied them to collect it via an increase to the Formal Import Declaration (FID). The Biosecurity Levy, set at $10.02 per incoming twenty-foot equivalent sea container (TEU) and $1 per tonne for non-containerised cargo, is proposed to be collected from 1st July 2019.

DAWR New Proposed Position

  • be expanded to apply to all commercial vessels, and apply to all containers and cargo that is unloaded at an Australian port.
  • The expanded levy base will result in a reduction in levy rates for bulk cargo.
  • It is also proposed that the levy be imposed on vessel owners, operators and their agents.

Proposed new Levy Rate

  • Containers $ 10.00 per Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU)
  • Break bulk cargo $1 per metric tonne
  • Bulk cargo $0.50 per metric tonne
  • Commercial vessels $0.027 per volumetric ton of vessel gross tonnage.  

Coastal (domestic) cargo is excluded from the levy. The levy will apply to transhipment and container re-stows.

DAWR advised that the change in the collection model method is due to key issues identified by industry stakeholders in June -

  • Costs as they are passed through supply chain – i.e. cascading administration cost in collecting the levy throughout the supply chain
  • More efficient to use existing systems and process

Levy Uses

  • DAWR forecasts the Biosecurity Levy will collect $325 million over 3 years.
  • DAWR will receive $313 million over 3 years, with the balance retained by Treasury as Consolidated Revenue.
  • DAWR’s portion of the levy has increased from $261 Million over 3 years (advised in June 2018)
  • The levy was proposed to be used for non-regulatory activities - priority pest and disease planning; assurance, verification and enforcement and trialling innovative technologies at the border.

Industry representatives have also called upon DAWR to direct more of the increased share of the Biosecurity levy to frontline regulatory services, particularly responding with adequate resources to outbreaks such as BMSB, White Spot Prawn, etc. DAWR confirmed that a portion of the levy will be allocated to regulatory services. DAWR is to commence drafting legislation in December with consultation on the exposure draft to take place in December 2018 and January 2019.