Levies and charges are taxes initiated by primary industries and imposed on the producers in that industry in order to pool resources and to find solutions to priority issues. This review examines the systems by which agricultural levies are monitored and enforced in order to most effectively use R&D funds to assist producers.
1.1 On 2 September 2014, the following matters were referred to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee (committee) for inquiry and report by 24 November 2014: The industry structures and systems governing the imposition of and disbursement of marketing and research and development (R&D) levies in the agricultural sector, with particular reference to: a. an audit of reports, inquiries and reviews relevant to this inquiry;
b. the basis on which levies are imposed, collected and used;
c. competing pressures for finite R&D funds;
d. the opportunities levy payers have to influence the investment of the levies;
e. the opportunities levy payers have to approve and reapprove the imposition of levies;
f. the transformation of R&D and marketing into increased returns at the farm gate, including the effectiveness of extension systems;
g. collaboration on research to benefit multiple industry and research sectors;
h. industry governance arrangements, consultation and reporting frameworks; and
i. any other related matter. 1.2 On 2 October 2014, the Senate granted an extension of time to report. The committee was required to report by 30 June 2015.
Membership of the committee Members Senator Glenn Sterle, Chair Western Australia, ALP Senator the Hon Bill Heffernan, Deputy Chair New South Wales, LP Senator Joe Bullock Western Australia, ALP Senator Sue Lines Western Australia, ALP Senator John Williams New South Wales, NATS Senator Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania, AG Substitute members for this inquiry Senator Chris Back Western Australia, LP to replace Senator the Hon Bill Heffernan on 20 February 2015 Other Senators participating in this inquiry Senator Chris Back Western Australia, LP Senator Sean Edwards South Australia, LP Senator Alex Gallacher South Australia, ALP Senator David Leyonhjelm New South Wales, LDP Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald Queensland, LP Senator Linda Reynolds Western Australia, LP Senator Anne Ruston South Australia, LP Senator Rachel Siewert Western Australia, AG