Biosecurity risks are changing as import volumes increase and pathways become faster and more complex. The government is proposing to implement a levy on imports by sea to invest in a stronger, fit-for-purpose biosecurity system.
This Biosecurity Imports Levy (Levy) was a recommendation of the 2017
Independent review of the capacity of Australia’s biosecurity system and its underpinning intergovernmental agreement (the review). The review found that resourcing the biosecurity system is a challenge and governments cannot do it alone.
The Levy would contribute to the government’s investment in measures for the benefit of all Australians. It ensures sustainable funding of the activities that help protect Australia’s:
- unique environment and its $6 trillion in environmental assets
- $63 billion agricultural industry
- inbound tourism sector worth $38 billion.
The Levy is estimated to raise $325 million over the three financial years from 2019–20, an average of $108 million per year over these three years.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will consult and work with affected stakeholders such as cargo importers and stevedores over the next 12 months on the design of the legislation and transitional arrangements. This includes implementing processes and system upgrades to support collection, remittance and reconciliation of Levy payments.
About the Levy
The Levy would start from 1 July 2019 and would be:
- imposed on all containerised and non-containerised cargo imported to Australia by sea, with the exception of military equipment.
- imposed on stevedores.
- set at $10.02 per incoming twenty-foot equivalent sea container and $1 per tonne for non-containerised cargo.
- one per cent of the current cost of importing a container to Australia.
The Levy would contribute to onshore surveillance, diagnostic, data analytics, research and adoption of new technology to help us to detect, identify and respond to exotic pest and diseases earlier and ensure we can move people and goods into Australia safely and more efficiently.
More information on the Levy
For all enquiries on the Biosecurity Imports Levy, please email
Levies. For frequently asked questions on the Biosecurity Imports Levy.