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Labor’s fresh food tax passed amid cost-of-living crisis

Labor’s fresh food tax has been passed in the House of Representatives, in a move that will
drive up the cost-of-living and make groceries more expensive at the checkout.
Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud said Labor’s legislation is an attack on families and
farmers.
The new tax, called a biosecurity protection levy, will force farmers to pay for the
biosecurity risks of international importers.
“In what parallel universe would a government charge its own farmers to pay for the risks
their competitors are creating?” Mr Littleproud said.
“This new tax will hurt families at a time they can least afford it and farmers who are already
under pressure.
“It doesn’t make sense at all and comes amid a cost-of-living crisis. Farmers will be forced to
pass on costs, meaning families will feel more pain at the grocery checkout.”
Mr Littleproud said the agriculture industry is worth $80 billion but despite its huge
importance, debate about the tax was held in the Federation Chamber rather than the
House of Representatives.
Mr Littleproud said the move to water down its significance was not just insulting and
hurtful but also showed how little Labor cares about the agriculture industry.
Just three Labor MPs debated the Agriculture (Biosecurity Protection) Levies and Charges
Collection Bill 2024, while 20 Coalition speakers stood up for farmers.
“That an issue of such significance was moved out of the House of Representatives
demonstrates Labor’s regard for our farmers and regional and rural communities.
“Labor’s callous treatment of the agriculture industry and farmers is shameful.”
Bundaberg cattle and poultry farmer Jodie Healy said the tax doesn’t make sense.
“I think it’s insanity on so many levels, it is almost like they are trying to destroy the farming
industry deliberately,” Ms Healy said.
“To me it just makes sense that people importing the products pay the levy – why should
farmers pay more? With generational farmers and their children, the younger generation
won’t want to stay on the land anymore if farming becomes too hard.
“I really think this new tax will cripple a lot of already struggling farmers. It also comes on
top of the truckie tax. Farmers truck their produce everywhere, so this is just another blow.”

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