The following is a media release by the Australian Government
The department is reviewing five biosecurity cost recovered arrangements that will result in some fee adjustments commencing 1 July 2014. The review is necessary to return the department’s cost recovery arrangement to a sustainable footing and to ensure continued compliance with the government’s cost recovery policy and guidelines.
Four of the five reviews have been completed. The department is now implementing the new rates of charge for these biosecurity services.
Fee reviews have been completed for a number of arrangements – an example of this is the change to the fee structure to import declarations and the bio inspection and processing fees.
Why review existing cost recovery arrangements
The Australian Cost Recovery Policy and Guidelines require the department to review arrangements within 5 years of their creation. The department manages 18 cost recovery arrangements spanning the import and export sectors. Some of these have not been reviewed since 2009 and are approaching 5 years without a fee adjustment.
During this time trade volumes have increased significantly with changes to originating countries and more items crossing our borders that must be assessed for biosecurity risk. The live animal export environment has also changed significantly with the introduction of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
As a result, the existing rates of charge for a number of the department’s cost recovery arrangements are or will become unable to recover the cost of services provided. To address this, the department is proposing fee adjustments to be implemented from 1 July 2014.
Funding Australia’s biosecurity system
The department provides essential biosecurity services that protect our agricultural industries from pests and disease and supports Australia’s international reputation as an exporter of quality agricultural goods. Agriculture contributes more than $51 billion annually to Australia’s economy and employs some 334,000 people. We export in the order of $40 billion of agricultural products each year – off the back of strong biosecurity practices.
The cost of providing this service is paid for, by and large, by the businesses and individuals who use them, in line with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Policy and Guidelines.
The annual cost of biosecurity services is about $350 million, a fraction of the total industry value, and a small price to pay for maintaining Australia’s favourable biosecurity status. For example the annual cost of biosecurity services for imported cargo is just 0.07% of the total value of annual imports. The annual cost of export certification is just 0.39% of total exports subject to certification.
Scope of the review
This review will return these cost recovery arrangement to a sustainable footing. Concurrently, parliament will consider changes to some charging and collection legislation, for example, exporters of timber and horticulture will be charged for some services which they currently receive for free. For imports, changes to legislation will further support the departments risk return operating model. This will ensure the fees and charges are fair and equitable.
A more comprehensive review of the cost recovery structures and fees is proposed for implementation beyond 1 July 2014. The department, subject to government approval, is currently considering the scope of the comprehensive review which is expected to look at options to streamline and adjust fees and charges to better reflect our business operating model for biosecurity services. For example the model has evolved from the practice of 100 percent intervention at the border – inspecting every item to using intelligence and dealing with imports based on the risk they pose