APAL welcomes the Government’s announcement of changes to the process for striking a positive Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) levy. This means a significant reduction in the costs associated with moving the apple and pear emergency response levy from zero to positive in the event that an eradication program is required against an exotic biosecurity threat.
The announcement comes on the eve of a meeting between APAL CEO John Dollisson, Industry Services Manager Annie Farrow and Daryl Quinlivan, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
“Industry biosecurity is high on our agenda and any changes to the current processes that ensure a quicker response time to an incursion is a positive for horticulture,” says Annie.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources recently sought industry feedback and as a result, reviewed the current processes for activating and amending EPPR levies.
“The apple and pear industry EPPR levy rate is currently set at zero and will be activated in the event of an incident. The EPPR Deed says that when an eradication of an exotic pest or disease is deemed technically and economically feasible, governments and industry agree to share the costs of eradication. Cost sharing arrangements are established through a process of categorising an exotic pest or disease. The levy is the way that the apple and pear industry can recoup its share of costs back from growers and repay its share to the government who will manage any eradication program.
“These changes would see a reduced time frame for industry consultation – which can currently take up to six months – and may now take the form of a public notification process, followed by an objection period,” explains Annie.
“The old process required industries to go through an exhaustive 12 step process to change a zero levy to a positive one. This was simply repeating the whole procedure which we went through to establish the levy in the first place.
“It was an expensive process, costing tens of thousands of dollars. We would have had to raise more than the cost of eradication just to cover off those costs. The new system is just common sense and a very welcomed move.”
Plant Health Australia (PHA) is responsible for facilitating the partnership between industry and governments during emergency responses and for maintaining the EPPRD, a formal legally binding document.
The proposed changes are due to commence from 1 November 2015, if you have any questions or concerns in relation to the EPPRD contact Annie on 03 9329 3511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.