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Monday, 12 September 2011
Page: 5764

Senator FEENEY (VictoriaParliamentary Secretary for Defence) (17:50): I move:

   That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Amendment (Deer) Bill 2011

Second Reading Speech

The National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Amendment Bill (Deer) 2011 amends the National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Act 1998 to increase the maximum allowable levy rate cap on the National Residue Survey (NRS) component of the deer slaughter levy from 4 to 10.5 cents per kilogram of carcase weight.

The Deer Industry Association of Australia has requested on behalf of the deer industry to re-apportion the deer slaughter levy due to a significant production decline over the last 10 years, which has reduced the funds raised through the levy.

The industry proposes to re-apportion the levy to increase the NRS component from 4 cents to 6 cents per kilogram and decrease the research and development (R&D) component from 4 cents to 2 cents per kilogram. To meet this request, a change to legislation is required as the Act currently caps the NRS component at 4 cents per kilogram.

The deer industry requires the NRS component of the levy to be increased to 6 cents per kilogram to ensure it generates sufficient levy funds to maintain a viable residue monitoring program. Australia requires a residue monitoring program for European Union market access, and with ap­proximately 85 per cent of all venison produced in Australia principally exported to the European Union, it is a key market for the industry.

Decreasing the R&D component of the levy to 2 cents per kilogram is not expected to have an impact on the industry's future R&D projects. This has been confirmed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

The industry undertook an extensive period of consultation and the decision to re-apportion the levy was put to a vote in March 2011, where approximately 97 per cent of valid responses from deer producers supported this change. The government has endorsed this recommendation from industry.

The government has decided to increase the NRS levy rate cap in the Act from 4 to 10.5 cents per kilogram at this time to cover the industry's proposal and allow for future increases that the industry may seek without the need to further amend the Act.

Following the passage of this Bill, the government intends to put forward amendments to the Primary Industries Levies and Charges (National Residue Survey Levies) Regulations 1998 and the Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Regulations 1999 to give effect to the levy re-apportionment proposal from industry; that is, to increase the NRS component to 6 cents and decrease the R&D component to 2 cents.

The measures introduced in this Bill and the subsequent amendments to relevant regulations will enable the deer industry to fund a viable residue monitoring program, maintaining access to key export markets. A positive result for both deer producers and their local communities.

Debate adjourned.