Management Agency response to submissions on proposal to set the American Foulbrood – Beekeeper Levy for 2021/22 At $40 per beekeeper and $1.70 per colony

Notification of rate of levy for the 2021/22 levy year

Pursuant to clause 12 of the Biosecurity (American Foulbrood – Beekeeper Levy) Order 2003, notice is herby given that for the 2021-22 levy year, the rates of the beekeeper and colony levies (exclusive of GST) and the basis of calculation will be:
a. $40 per beekeeper for the base levy; plus
b. $1.70 per colony owned by the beekeeper as at 31 March 2021

In March 2019, the Management Agency for the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan (the Agency) conducted consultation amongst beekeepers to seek their views about a proposal to replace the American Foulbrood Apiary and Beekeeper Levy with Hive and Beekeeper Levy. The proposal sought increased levy funding to implement a robust monitoring and audit programme that would ensure that all beekeepers are taking responsibility for eliminating AFB from their beehives.

After considering the 477 submissions received in March 2019 the Agency has decided to request the Minister to amend the levy order and the new Biosecurity (American foulbrood – Beekeeper Levy) Order 2003 was notified in March 2020.

The March 2019 proposal proposed that the implementation of a robust monitoring and audit programme was progressively implemented over a five-year period and that the rate of levy for 2021/22 be set at $40.00 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.99 ($2.29 including GST) per hive.

The Agency reviewed the budget for 2021/22 monitoring and audit programme, and in September 2020 proposed that the rate of levy be set at a lower rate than was originally planned – $40.00 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.70 ($1.96 including GST) per colony.

104 submissions were received. 95 were from survey respondents and 9 letter submissions were also received.

The Agency would like to thank submitters for their submissions on the proposed budget for 2021/22.

Summary of Agency decisions

Having considered the submissions, the Agency has decided to set that rate of levy for 2021/22 at $40 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.70 ($1.96 including GST) per colony.

The reasons for this decision are set out below:

Only 1% of beekeepers provided a response to the proposal and equal numbers of responding beekeepers agreed or disagreed with the proposal to set the rate of levy at $40 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.70 ($1.96 including GST) per colony. However, survey respondents expressed strong support for the Management Agency making further investments in its monitoring and auditing programme with:

  • 68% of respondents agreeing that honey surveillance should be increased from 500 to 1,000 samples per year
  • 69% of respondents agreeing that default inspections should be conducted on those beekeepers that default on their annual Certificate of Inspection obligations, and
  • 76% of respondents agreeing that the Management Agency should review the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan to ensure that AFB continues to be under legislative control after 1 April 2023.

The primary objection stated by submissions against the proposed rate of levy was that it was too high, making it financially difficult for commercial beekeepers, too expensive for hobbyists, and that the rate of levy should not increase so soon after the 2020/21 increase.

The Agency is concerned about the financial hardship that many beekeepers are experiencing. However, the Agency also concerned about the financial impact of AFB on beekeepers and has a responsibility to fully implement the National Pest Management Plan to progressively reduce the impacts of AFB. Full implementation of the National Pest Management Plan does require progressive increases in the levy as described in the March 2019 consultation.

The proposed levy rate for 2021/22 is $0.35 per colony above the current levy rate. The Agency considers that the additional levy is justified to fund further investments in monitoring and auditing to reduce the costs associated with losing hives and production to AFB.

The analysis of submissions and the Management Agency’s response can be found in the documents here:

 Levy proposal documents

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