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Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Page: 8279

Dr MIKE KELLY (Eden-MonaroParliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (09:34): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

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

The Deer Industry Association of Australia has requested on behalf of the deer industry to reapportion 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 reapportion the levy to increase the NRS component from 4c to 6c per kilogram and decrease the research and development, R&D, component from 4c to 2c per kilogram. To meet this request, a change to legislation is required as the act currently caps the NRS component at 4c per kilogram.

The deer industry requires the NRS component of the levy to be increased to 6c 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 2c 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 reapportion 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 4c to 10.5c 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 reapportionment proposal from industry; that is, to increase the NRS component to 6c and decrease the R&D component to 2c.

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. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.