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Life on the land in Australia

FARMERS PAY LEVIES TO THE TUNE OF HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS & LOSE TRACK

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FARMERS are shelling out more than $370 million a year in compulsory levies to fund industry research and promotion, so you’d think most would know how much they pay.

Toss in the federal government’s annual contribution of well over $200m, plus other income, and the money pot swells to well over $600m to fund the network of statutory corporations and not-for-profit grower companies charged with the job of making Australian agriculture more profitable and sustainable.

Yet almost 75 per cent of farmers surveyed by Adelaide-based Fairfax Agricultural Research and Marketing (FARM) didn’t know how much levies they paid each year.

More than 80pc of sheep producers had no idea about the size of their levy bill even though they are forking out to both Australian Wool Innovation and Meat and Livestock Australia.

A search through their annual reports for 2012-13 shows the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Meat and Livestock Australia were the two biggest beneficiaries of grower levies and taxpayer contributions, followed by Horticulture Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and Dairy Australia.

The GRDC received total revenue of $196.4m in 2012-13 including $118.2m in grower levies and $62.8m from the federal government to support the corporation’s research work across 25 different grain crops.

The MLA banked total revenue of $162.2m in the same year with $93.8m from cattle and sheep producers (including $54.2 million in grassfed beef levies) and almost $40 million in federal funding.

Horticulture Australia raked in around $103m in total revenue including $41.1m in levies from growers spanning more than 40 separate industries, $41.3m from the federal government and $18.4m in voluntary contributions.

Growers contributed $43.74m to Australian Wool Innovation in levies while the federal government provided $13.29m.

Dairy Australia picked up $32.8m in milk levies and $19.2m from the federal government and invested $40.7m in R&D.

The Cotton Research and Development Corporation, based at Narrabri, NSW, had total revenue of $30.19m including almost $12 million in levies and $11.5m in federal support.

Australian Pork received $12m in grower levies and $4.54m from the federal government. About 60 per cent of its budget was spent on off-farm marketing.

Other recipients of grower-levy funds include the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Egg Corporation, Animal Health Australia, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Wine Australia Corporation, Plant Health Australia and the Sugar Research and Development Corporation.

Henry Sapiecha

June 23rd, 2014
Topic: LEVIES & CHARGES, TAXES Tags: , , ,

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