Melon Levies

There are three statutory levies on all melons produced and sold in Australia. The total levy base is 0.4c/kg. This includes:

  • 0.3c/kg Research & Development (R&D) levy – to fund coordinated research, development and extension activities to improve the productivity and profitability for all melon producers in Australia.
  • 0.1c/kg Plant Health Australia (PHA) levy – to fund biosecurity projects and to pay PHA annual membership subscription.
  • 0.0c/kg Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) levy – to create the ability for an industry contingency fund to be used in the event of a biosecurity incursion. This levy will not be activated until a pest incursion occurs.

Melon levies are payable on all melons produced in Australia destined for processing, domestic consumption or export and sold by the producer (i.e. first point of sale). Melons are considered to include fresh: watermelons (Citrullus lanatus), rockmelons (Cucumis melo), honeydew melons (Cucumis melo var. inodorus), galia melon (Cucumis melo var. reticulatus), horned melon (Cucumis metuliferus), charentais melon (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis), Korean melon (Cucumis melo var. makuwa), hami melon (Cucumis melon var. reticulatus) and piel de sapo (Cucumis melo var. inodorus).

If the producer sells melons through an intermediary (i.e. wholesale agent, supermarket, exporter), then the intermediary must pay the levy on behalf of the producer and submit all return forms. The intermediary can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid, by offset or otherwise.
If the producer sells melons by retail sale (i.e. to a restaurant, roadside stall) then the producer must pay the levy and submit all required return forms to the Department of Agriculture – Levies, directly. Annual sales less than twenty tonnes will not be subject to the levy.
Exemption from payment of the melon levy only applies when the producer sells less than the 20 tonne of melons per year by retail sale (i.e. to a restaurant or roadside stall).

The Research & Development levy

The R&D levy is collected by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and forwarded to Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation). As a grower-owned research and development corporation, Hort Innovation coordinates, invests and manages research and development on behalf of Australia’s horticulture levies and invests over $100 million annually.

Melon Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP)

For each industry R&D levy, Hort Innovation forms an industry advisory group which will consist of the Australian Melon Association and melon growers from around Australia to determine how the funds should be allocated. This group is how Hort Innovation will receive advice on what research and development projects should be funded and allows industry to have the seat at the table to drive these projects.
More information. http://www.horticulture.com.au/growers/melon-fund/

The Biosecurity levies

The PHA and EPPR levies are collected by DAWR and forwarded onto Plant Health Australia (PHA) for management and administration. Plant Health Australia is the national coordinator for the government-industry partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia.
PHA provides expert technical advice on biosecurity issues, assistance in the event of an incursion, development of biosecurity plans and strategies, as well as independent advice on biosecurity investment.
The Australian Melon Association has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PHA which ensures that the funds are being spent as according to the PHA Act, PHA Constitution and Levies Principles and Guidelines. The PHA levy currently funds the PHA fees and a biosecurity officer who is updating the Melon Industry Biosecurity Plan.

The Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD)

The EPPRD is a legally binding agreement between PHA, the Australian Government, all state and territory governments and national plant industry body signatories and it includes the management and funding of responses to Emergency Plant Pest (EPP) incidents, such as Melon fly if it were to enter Australia.
The EPPRD also formalises the role of plant industries’ participation in decision making as well as their contribution towards the costs related to EPP responses. The AMA acts on the melon industry’s behalf at a national level.
The 0.0c/kg EPPR biosecurity levy enables the industry to raise funds in the event of an exotic pest outbreak.