Levy transparency on the agenda
The 45th Federal Parliament was officially opened on Tuesday with the usual ceremonial proceedings, but day two is all about getting on with the job of providing stable leadership for the people of Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce MP, will re-introduce one of the first pieces of legislation of the new government to help strengthen our world class levy system for Australia’s farmers whilst providing increased transparency.
The Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Amendment Bill will make it possible for all of Australia’s rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) to establish accurate registers of levy payers so they can connect directly with those who fund their work.
Minister Joyce said the Bill seeks to put in place recommendations of recent reviews, including two Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee’s inquiries, which identified the need for RDCs to improve consultation with levy payers.
“The Coalition understands farmers want a stronger say and greater transparency over how their levies are spent on research, development and marketing” Minister Joyce said.
“The passage of this bill will enable all rural RDCs to establish levy payer registers which will facilitate more effective consultation between RDCs and the farmers, fishers and foresters who fund them.
“RDCs will be able to identify and consult directly with levy payers on research priorities and levy expenditure. RDCs will also more easily be able to poll farmers on research priorities by using levy registers which will accurately and efficiently allocate voting entitlements.”
Minister Joyce said the Coalition Government is strengthening the agricultural research and development effort by delivering on commitments to increase R&D funding through the $190 million Rural R&D for Profit Programme.
“Research in agriculture is money well spent, with estimates that for every dollar government invests in rural R&D, broadacre farmers generate a $12 return over 10 years,” Minister Joyce said.
“The Coalition has a strong commitment to ensuring agricultural research meets the needs of farmers and delivers improved returns at the farm gate.”