Grow­ers grumpy over fee hike

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA’S hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tor has joined forces to unan­i­mously op­pose price hikes to ex­port fees.

The fees are flagged to come into ef­fect on July 1 and will over-re­cover more than $3.5 mil­lion dur­ing the next four years.

Eight ma­jor in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions, Ap­ple and Pear Aus­tralia, Aus­tralian Hor­ti­cul­tural Ex­porters and Im­porters As­so­ci­a­tion, Aus­tralian Mango In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, Aus­tralian Ta­ble Grape As­so­ci­a­tion, AusVeg, Cherry Grow­ers Aus­tralia, Cit­rus Aus­tralia and Sum­mer­fruit Aus­tralia, have called on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to re-en­gage with stake­hold­ers be­fore in­tro­duc­ing a new cost-re­cov­ery model for hor­ti­cul­ture ex­port ser­vices.

Ear­lier this year the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Water Re­sources re­leased a draft doc­u­ment out­lin­ing new levies for 2018-2019, in­clud­ing a dou­bling of the phy­tosan­i­tary cer­tifi­cate levy from $38 per doc­u­ment to $78. It would also in­crease the hor­ti­cul­tural prod­ucts levy to non-pro­to­col coun­tries by 160 per cent, from $0.65 to $1.70 a tonne, and to pro­to­col coun­tries from $1.30 to $3.40 a tonne.

Aus­tralian Hor­ti­cul­tural Ex­porters’ and Im­porters’ As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Do­minic Jenkin said the scheme was “fun­da­men­tally flawed”.

He said the Gov­ern­ment was seek­ing to re­cover more than the cost of pro­vid­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ser­vices.

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