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EPPR levy increase to fund industry share of Varroa response


To cover the apple and pear industry’s share of the cost of the Varroa mite emergency response, a formal request will be made to temporarily increase the EPPR levy. 

Key points 

  • Industry is required to contribute to cost of Varroa mite response 
  • Response costs are funded via the EPPR levy 
  • EPPR levy increase of $0.00192 per kilogram proposed 
  • The 30-day objection period will occur from 1 May 2024 to 31 May 2024

APAL has been actively involved in the sector-wide response for the eradication and management of Varroa mite, since it was first detected in the Port of Newcastle in June 2022. 

The Varroa mite response has now been finalised, and the National Management Group has agreed to the Transition to Management plan.  

A biosecurity officer testing hives for Varroa mite. Photo: NSW DPI

As a signatory to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), the apple and pear industry has cost-sharing obligations to repay the industry’s percentage of the total cost of the Varroa mite response.  

The total cost of the Varroa mite response is $100 million. The apple and pear industry’s share of the total cost is $4.31 million. This captures the cost of the Transition to Management plan and the previous eradication attempt. 

On behalf of the apple and pear industry, APAL has asked the Australian Government to underwrite the industry’s cost-sharing obligation for the response to Varroa mite, using the EPPR levy as the mechanism for repayment within the recommended 10-year period.  

The apple and pear industry will be required to pay $4.31 million over nine years, at a rate of $478,889 per annum. This translates to a new levy of approximately $0.00192 per kilogram. 

The apple and pear industry currently has a small EPPR levy of $0.0005 per kilogram in place, covering small incursion-related costs of the past five years. To maintain this existing levy and cover the Varroa mite response, the new combined levy will be $0.00242 per kilogram 

APAL will be writing to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, to activate the EPPR levy to meet the apple and pear industry’s cost-sharing obligation for the Varroa mite response. 

APAL is proposing the 30-day objection period will occur from 1 May 2024 to 31 May 2024. If you wish to submit a confidential objection regarding the levy details or process during this period, please email [email protected] or [email protected] 

At the end of the objection period, APAL and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will review and respond to any objections received. Following this, the new levy will be introduced. 

APAL will keep industry updated with the progress of the levy throughout the process. 

To find out more, please contact [email protected] or call (03) 9329 3511. 

Varroa mite on bee. Photo: Stephen Ausmus,

Transition to Management of Varroa mite

  • June 2022 – Varroa mite detected in sentinel hives in Port of Newcastle, NSW. 
  • June 2022 to September 2023 – National Management Group (NMG) convened under established emergency plant pest response procedures deems eradication feasible and agrees a response plan. 
  • September 2023 – It is agreed nationally that eradication of Varroa mite is no longer feasible based on technical grounds. Response moves to Transition to Management phase. 
  • February 2024 – The National Management Group endorses the Transition to Management plan. The costs of the response, including Transition to Management activities, to be shared up to a revised limit of $100 million, on the basis of a Category 2 Emergency Plant Pest categorisation. 

Funding pest eradication 

The Emergency Plant Pest Response Levy (EPPR levy) provides a mechanism for the industry to fund eradication activities to reduce the threat of exotic plant pests. 

The current EPPR levy, which is 0.05 of a cent per kilogram $0.0005 per kilogram for all domestic and export apples and pears, is collected by the federal government and managed by PHA. It was last changed in October 2017 to raise funds to repay the apple and pear industry’s share of the costs of responding to an outbreak of Varroa mite in Queensland and exotic fruit fly in Torres Strait. 

To make a change to the rate of the EPPR levy, an industry body needs to undergo a process of consultation with Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), which includes an assessment of the benefits and costs to industry of a change to the levy, a public notification period of any levy amendment, including a 30-day objection period. The final decision on the levy rate change is made by the Department. 

Pest categorisation 

Government and industry parties share the costs of the approved response plan based on the pest’s potential impacts on public health, environment or amenity values, regional and national economies, trade and market access, and control or production costs. 

Based on these potential impacts, the categorisation group can assign emergency plant pests to one of four categories, which in turn determines the funding ratio. 

Pest categorisation funding ratio. Source: Plant Health Australia

For more information on emergency plant pest responses, the EPPRD levy and how industry contributions to the cost of emergency responses are set, visit the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s Biosecurity Levies web page. 


This article was first published in the Autumn 2024 edition of AFG.

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