Hort price hikes scrapped

Gov­ern­ment drops cost-re­cov­ery model

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Alexan­dra Laskie news@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

HUGE price hikes for fruit, veg­etable, nut and flower ex­ports have been scrapped af­ter the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment caved to pres­sure from hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­tries that ar­gued the fees would make over­seas trade un­fea­si­ble.

The fees were due to come into ef­fect on July 1 and would have over-re­cov­ered more than $3.5 mil­lion in the next four years.

But a united cam­paign from eight 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 – suc­cess­fully cam­paigned for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to go back to the draw­ing board and come up with a new cost-re­cov­ery model.

In an email cir­cu­lated last week, the department said it would not be im­ple­ment­ing re­vised cost-re­cov­ery ar­range­ments for hor­ti­cul­ture ex­ports in 2018-19 and ex­ist­ing fees and charges would re­main un­changed.

It will now un­der­take a full re­view of the cur­rent scheme, with any new changes to take ef­fect from July 1 next year.

Aus­tralian Hor­ti­cul­tural Ex­porters’ and Im­porters’ As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Do­minic Jenkin said he was elated the in­dus­try was able to work to­gether to se­cure a com­mit­ment from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to con­sult more closely with grow­ers and ex­porters to draw up a new scheme.

“We re­ally have to go back to the draw­ing board now, con­duct a thor­ough re­view of the ser­vices the department is of­fer­ing, de­ter­mine whether those ser­vices are in­deed rel­e­vant to the in­dus­try and whether they’re be­ing ef­fi­ciently de­liv­ered or not,” Mr Jenkin said.

“Then, fol­low­ing agree­ment, to de­ter­mine the eq­ui­table dis­tri­bu­tion of those costs in ac­cor­dance with the cost-re­cov­ery guide­lines.”

Ear­lier this year, the department re­leased a draft out­lin­ing new levies for

2018-19, in­clud­ing a dou­bling of the phy­tosan­i­tary cer­tifi­cate levy from $38 a doc­u­ment to

$78.

It in­cluded an in­crease to the hor­ti­cul­tural prod­ucts levy to non-pro­to­col coun­tries of

160 per cent, from $0.65 to

$1.70 a tonne, and to pro­to­col coun­tries a jump from $1.30 to $3.40 a tonne.

❝We

re­ally have to go back to the draw­ing board now.

— Do­minic Jenkin

PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE

IN­DUS­TRY WIN: Huge price hikes for hor­ti­cul­tural ex­ports have been dropped.

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