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Thursday, 7 July 2011
Page: 8123

Meat Industry: Cost Recovery

(Question No. 414)

Mr Oakeshott asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, in writing, on 2 June 2011:

Has the meat industry recently been in negotiations with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service about the ongoing 60 per cent industry-40 per cent government funding partnership; if so, can he indicate whether it is a fact that the most recent position of Government is to place full cost-recovery on the industry; if so, what led to this change in policy.

Mr Burke: The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

In 2001 the Coalition Government introduced cost recovery arrangements to recover the full cost of export certification. Shortly after transitioning industry to full cost recovery the Coalition Government introduced a 40 per cent subsidy, which was maintained for eight years.

The independent review of quarantine and biosecurity arrangements: "One biosecurity: a working partnership" (the Beale Review), recommended that the export certification function return to full cost recovery from 1 July 2009.

In 2009, Labor acknowledged that the subsidy had supported a cumbersome system, rather than drive flexibility and systemic efficiencies legitimately sought by exporters. Therefore the government agreed to provide a further transitional rebate of fees - along with $42.1 million to fund staff redundancies, implement market access activities and commission essential projects to inform the work of the Ministerial Task Forces whose function has been to develop and drive reform.

The Australian Meat Industry Council agreed to the establishment of the Export Certification Reform Package (ECRP) with the clear understanding that the government's generous 40 per cent rebate would expire on 1 July 2011. The government and members of industry on the Ministerial Task Forces have all been working hard to find efficiencies in the certification system and has developed the Australian Export Meat Inspection System (AEMIS).

This system is ready for implementation during the 2011-12 financial year and supporting fee orders and regulations are being developed.