Refrigerated transporters seething over fee increases


Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association of Australia is crying foul over massive fee increases by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service

November 1, 2011

The Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association of Australia (RWTA) is crying foul over massive fee increases by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS).

The peak body says the rises range from almost 500 percent for base registration to 150 percent for the hourly rate for a meat inspector.

It is calling for a moratorium on the implementation fee structure and wants a full consultation process with all affected parties, along with an independent study to assess the impact on industry viability.

The fees hikes come at a particularly tough time for a sector already facing big increase in the cost of doing business.

The RWTA, many of whose members run truck fleets, claims there was no consultation in the lead up to the announcement and that its subsequent representations have effectively been ignored.

"This issue has really riled our members, who play a significant role in the generation of Australia’s export income," RWTA Chairman Paul Fleiszig says.

"The meat industry has been able to negotiate offsets against the new charges for the producers. However, cold store obligations, under AQIS inspection requirements, have not changed and we can see no possibility of any savings under the new system.

"For RWTA members, the new charges are a huge additional cost they have to accept and have little chance to recover from an industry already forced to rationalise due to the effects of the drought, live cattle and sheep exports, the high Australian dollar and rapidly rising electricity costs."

Fleiszig says there is great frustration within the organisation, given its efforts to support AQIS’s push for self-regulation and its backing of approved quality assurance programs.

"The industry quickly embraced self-regulation and consequent efficiencies led to the number of employees in the Australian meat inspection service being greatly reduced," Executive Officer David Costelloe says.

"We were told some time ago that all the relevant AQIS services would be combined and harmonised under a single licence scheme but this cost-effective simplification of the export and import inspection and certification system has not materialised. The RWTA believes there is no opportunity provided to offset the fee increases."




Bookmark and Share










You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook