Monday deadline for say on horse levy proposal

September 19, 2008

Australian horse owners have until Monday to make a submission on the controversial proposal to allow the federal government to levy horse owners to cover the costs of fighting any future disease outbreaks.

The Australian Senate referred the Horse Disease Response Levy Bill and two associated bills to its Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee for inquiry.

This legislation is intended to place the horse industry under the provisions of the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA).

It will give the federal government the power to impose a one-off statutory levy on the registration of horses to meet the costs of fighting disease incursions.

Support for the levy has come from Australian Horse Industry Council, the Australian Harness Racing Council and the Australian Racing Board.

Under the terms of EADRA, the Australian Animal Health Council (AAHC) co-ordinates, collates and maintains financial information in respect of any animal disease emergency.

Livestock industries covered by EADRA agree that the AAHC will receive and disburse levy funds to repay the Commonwealth for the costs of fighting disease, which are underwritten by the Commonwealth on behalf of industry.

A levy will be charged only after a disease incursion.

Once the size of the industry’s debt to the Commonwealth is known, the horse industry will be advised of total debt and repayment arrangements will be implemented.

The horse disease response levy will then be activated to recoup the money.