Great Discussion by Garden Guru’s Presenter Trevor Cochrane on the seed fees.

Great radio interview today with James Lush, thanks James, ABC and sparkles (Sparkles rocks – love her passion). The Minister was too busy to talk about it today as was the department that implemented the decision… hiding under a rock till it blows over maybe? But the state opposition have heard the call and are saying they are working to charge this ludicrous charge on everyday average West Australian families. We are now also hearing government charges have been secretly hiked everywhere so watch your services fees rise… we all need to take a stand on this problem now, its only going to hurt every day people and the most vulnerable in our society. If you spent more money than you earned would you charge your customers more to make up your short fall or cut your costs to ensure you ran your business sustainably. It is of course the latter. We are the customer, the ag dept is there to provide a service, the government to serve the greater interests of the community. We are already the most heavily taxed country in the world and that doesn’t count the hidden taxes that government call costs for services provided. Government departments are there to provide services to our community, and are paid to do so by all the taxes we pay. It’s actually that simple.

I won’t let this fade away, please support the cause, the government is obstinate on changing the wrong decisions they have made regardless of the merits of it and they have to know that this will have an extremely detrimental effect on all West Australians broadly, for generations. Its a serious problem.

I know some of you might think its only a few packets of seeds, why not buy them at Bunnings instead?
50% of all packet seeds purchased in WA are by web sites because hardware stores and most nurseries have very limited ranges. Heirloom, heritage and organic seed companies on line are small family businesses and they provide diversity we cannot get via the two seed brands sold through hardware stores which are not incurring the same government charge.

Over 250,000 home gardeners orders are now going to be charged an additional $56.00 in WA alone. That $14,000,000 dollars the Ag dept is taking from mums and dads at home, if we keep buying seed over the internet. Of course we won’t. we will give up heirloom varieties, GMO free and organically certified for the imported limited range available through select retailers. If other states see this is successful its likely their governments will see the same opportunity to rip money from gardeners.
Its also important to note, the $56.00 for 15 minute inspection charge is not some special check by a highly qualified botanist who can recognise seeds and identify some interloper making its way to you garden, or entomologist who sees in the see a pest or disease. This cost will be for someone to stand, look at the packet, say Tuscan Kale, whilst someone else checks a data base to see if its a variety of plant allowed here. Its an administration charge only and will not affect the end outcome as far as biosecurity goes.
its also important to know, this is actually a duplicated charge. almost 85% of all seed sold by all company’s is imported and as such treated and inspected when arriving in Australia by highly qualified AQIS staff. The importer is charged once off for that inspection and then takes the bulk seed away and packages it. In other words its already been inspected once and charged for once.

This cost imposition will hurt those who can’t afford fresh produce, those making do on lower incomes and those of us who love the diversity of heirloom and organically certified produce at home. We all have to do something now, complacency on this issue has far bigger implications for this generation and the next.

The solution is not rocket science. There are only 15 or so seed companies involved. If WA doesn’t trust the entry work AQIS does, accredit the seed sellers. charge them a once off fee for the service and run 4 unannounced audits a year on each company at premises and 4 on shipments to ensure what they say they are doing is correct. The trouble with this is the charges will be under $30k for everything including all admin and that doesn’t generate the revenue the state government was looking for. $30k versus $14m – I can understand the reluctance to admit the mistake but the $14m will not eventuate because people cannot afford the cost. Food diversity goes… plants like Kale where they are many species are no longer available as few retailers carry seed of one yet alone a number of varieties. Kale is the highest source of antioxidants available, a cancer fighter, an enormous source of macro and micro nutrients – gone from the veggie patch. its an example of the impact this decision has. The Government, the Agriculture department have to listen and act in the best interests of the community.
If you agree with me make your voice heard.
Please this is not something we can ignore or be ignorant to.

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