Cattle Council welcomes taxpayer register and stresses need for access for democratic work

The Cattle Council of Australia welcomed the news that Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has started to develop a register of taxpayers for livestock keepers, but also stressed that it is vital that the register is made available. for important democratic work on behalf of taxpayers. .

The Levy Payer Register is a database containing details of individuals and organizations that pay transaction taxes specific to the red meat industry – see more details in this previous article.

As currently drafted in legislation, the “eligible beneficiaries” of tax payer information are research and development companies (DRC – in the case of the cattle transaction tax which is MLA) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS cannot establish a register of direct debit payers but can request access to data to perform any of its functions.

Once established, an SRD may use the direct debit payer information from its register for specific purposes:

  • keep a register of those who have paid a levy and / or a fee
  • keep a register of persons entitled to vote in an election conducted by or on behalf of the DRC
  • make statistical information public
  • in the performance of his duties under Commonwealth law or under a contract or agreement with the Commonwealth
  • to determine whether a person is or remains eligible to be a member of CDR.

The law states that information about the tax payer cannot be used for purposes such as:

  • agro-political activities
  • increase the number of members of an industry representative body
  • an activity that would give a business advantage to an industry participant
  • an activity unrelated to the function of the RDC.

Access to taxpayer information by a third party (i.e. anyone outside the MLA) can only take place with the approval of the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Asked by Beef Central about the Cattle Council’s view on introducing the registry for the beef sector, CEO Travis Tobin said the council supports the concept of a taxpayer registry for cattle producers and is happy to see the work in progress.

However, he also indicated that leading industry councils such as the Cattle Council should be able to access their industry specific registry for certain purposes.

“The Livestock Council does not collect royalties, but its role is to ensure that they are used responsibly,” said Mr Tobin (right).

“The registry would allow us to reach all producers, listen to what they want and better inform the people who spend the funds raised.”

“This would allow us to contact all producers threatened by a biosecurity foray or a residue problem, strengthening our traceability and maintaining the quality and reliability of our product. “

“The MLA, as the owner of the registry, should request access to the Cattle Council so that we can use it for specific purposes. “

“It is vital that the registry is made available for this important and democratic work. “

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