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Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Page: 3229

Mr LITTLEPROUD (MaranoaMinister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management and Deputy Leader of the National Party) (10:22): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I have great pleasure in introducing the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Amendment (Dairy Cattle Export Charge) Bill 2020. The bill provides for export charges to be imposed on dairy cattle and sets the rate of provision on a per head basis on the export of dairy cattle.

A range of statutory agricultural levies and charges are currently collected and disbursed on behalf of Australia's primary industries. These levies and charges are imposed at the request of relevant industries to enable the funding of essential services, including research and development (R&D) and marketing, through the 15 research and development corporations.

The livestock export industry has requested government to impose this statutory charge on dairy cattle exports of $6 per head of dairy cattle exported. This will replace the current voluntary $6 per head charge on exported dairy cattle which industry has identified is undercollected and is not sufficient to meet the needs of the sector.

The Australian Livestock Export Corporation (LiveCorp), as the research and development corporation which receives livestock export industry charges, will use the funds to meet the marketing and research and development needs of the dairy cattle export sector. This includes the funding of the Dairy Cattle Export Program, which aims to improve research and development specific to dairy cattle exports, focusing on animal health and welfare, supply chain efficiency and regulatory performance and market access for dairy cattle exports.

Australia is a supplier of quality dairy cattle to the world, with Australian dairy cattle held in high regard due to their ability to consistently produce high-quality fresh milk. Through the export of Australian dairy cattle to other markets, Australian farmers and exporters are helping to develop dairy herds while establishing strong relationships with key trading partners and our regional neighbours.

Australia is a world leader in animal welfare practices and our involvement in the livestock export trade provides us with the opportunity to influence animal welfare conditions in importing countries.

The Australian livestock export industry is a valuable industry that supports the livelihoods of our rural and regional communities across Australia. The Australian livestock export industry contributes over $1.8 billion annually to the Australian economy and provides employment for many Australians either directly or in associated industries. Export of dairy cattle is an important alternative source of income for many dairy farmers, particularly those affected by drought and the current global pandemic. The dairy cattle export industry is valued at over $200 million, with over 100,000 cattle exported in 2019 to a number of markets, including China, Indonesia, Pakistan and Japan.

This government is committed to supporting the goal of agriculture being a $100 billion industry by 2030. Getting the most from our investment in research and development and marketing is an important component to seeing this goal succeed.

This bill introduces amendments to the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999 to provide for export charges to be imposed on dairy cattle and set the rate of provision on a per head basis on the export of dairy cattle. The current export charge on beef and breeder cattle remains unchanged.

These measures will enable appropriate funding to be made available for marketing and R&D activities for the dairy cattle export sector, to ensure a competitive, sustainable industry for the future.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.