Bills Digest No. 82   1997-98 Buffalo Slaughter Levy Bill 1997

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This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.


Passage History

Buffalo Slaughter Levy Bill 1997

Date Introduced: 1 October 1997
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Primary Industries and Energy
Commencement: On the same day as Part 3 of the proposed Australian Meat and Live- stock Industry Act 1997, that is, on Proclamation or nine months and one day after Royal Assent, whichever is first.


To impose a levy on buffaloes slaughtered for human consumption at an abattoir. The levy will be payable by the person who owns the buffalo when slaughter takes place.


Under existing law a levy is imposed by the Live-stock Slaughter Levy Act 1964 on lambs, sheep, goats and buffalo slaughtered for human consumption at an abattoir. The levy is payable by the person who owns the live-stock at the time of slaughter. The Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 provides for the collection of the levy.

Proceeds raised by the charge are apportioned between the Meat Industry Council (MIC), the Australian Meat and Live-stock Corporation (AMLC), the Meat Research Corporation (MRC) and the Australian Animal Health Council Limited (AAHC).

The Live-stock Slaughter Levy Act 1964 is being repealed by item 1 of Schedule 4 of the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Repeals and Consequential Provisions) Bill 1997.

This Bill forms part of a package of 17 Bills restructuring the regulatory framework of the Australian meat and live-stock industry. Under existing levy and charge arrangements, funds raised primarily go towards funding the MIC, AMLC and MRC. Under the proposed arrangements the government intends that industry contributions will be sourced on a statutory and non-statutory basis. The collection of statutory levies is intended to be based on the current system but with changes providing for a transaction levy on sheep, lambs and goats, replacing the current live-stock slaughter levy, and a separate transaction levy on grain fed cattle.

The rationale given by the Minister in the Second Reading Speech to the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Bill 1997 for the transaction levy approach is:

The transaction levy approach for sheep, lambs and goats was adopted at the request of a clear majority of industry whose submission met all of the requirements of the government's levy principles. A similar request was also submitted by the grain fed cattle industry sector for a separate cattle transaction levy. Again this submission met each of the Government's levy principles.

The existing levy and charge imposition Acts have been modified to provide for clear sectoral ownership.(1)

In relation to non-statutory contributions, the government is setting the processor and exporter levies at zero. It should be noted that the Minister in the Second Reading Speech to the Bill issues a warning in respect of such contributions, that is:

Should the non-statutory contributions by processors and livestock exporters fail to meet agreed funding levels for joint industry functions, and as specifically agreed by these two sectors, the Government has their prior agreement to maintain levies at a required level to ensure there is adequate funding.(2)

Under the proposed arrangements, the Government intends that decisions on levels of levies and charges be the responsibility of peak industry councils.

In respect to the buffalo industry it may be noted that the industry will not be contributing through the levy to the proposed marketing and research bodies, but rather to the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and the National Cattle Disease Eradication Trust Account (NCDE), as per current arrangements. The rationale given by the Minister in the Second Reading Speech to the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Bill 1997 for the proposed arrangements with respect to the buffalo industry is:

The particular requirements of the buffalo industry will be met by new buffalo export charge and slaughter levy acts. Separate levy acts are needed because the buffalo industry will retain slaughter levy and export charge arrangements. Contributions from the buffalo industry will continue to go to the RIRDC, the NRS [National Residue Survey] and the NCDE, as at present.(3)

The reader is also referred to the Digest for the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Bill 1997.

Main Provisions

A levy will be imposed on buffaloes slaughtered at an abattoir for human consumption by clause 4. The levy will not apply where carcases have been condemned or rejected as unfit for human consumption, or where carcases will be consumed by the owner, members of his/her family, or the owner's employees.

Clause 5 provides that the rate of levy on the slaughter of each head of buffalo will be:

  • $4.60, or a prescribed amount up to $18.00, for payment to the RIRDC; and
  • 73 cents, or a prescribed amount up to $4.00, for payment to the NCDE.

The levy will be payable by the person (including a State/Territory or State/Territory authority) who owns the buffaloes when slaughter takes place (clause 6).


  1. Second Reading Speech, Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Bill 1997: 10
  2. Ibid: 11
  3. Ibid: 15

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Ian Ireland
4 November 1997
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

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ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997.

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Last updated: 12 November 1997

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