There has been a spike in activity recently in the little-discussed, yet important, issue of stamp duty.
In its latest budget, the NSW Government announced it would remove the existing 2.5 per cent stamp duty on crop and livestock insurance, which includes multi-peril insurance products.
This move was widely welcomed by Cotton Australia and other agricultural groups. Farmers will see relief from January 1, 2018, which will give insurers time to amend their existing suite of policy offerings.
Farmers face significant hurdles just to run their on-farm businesses every day. Risks such as natural disaster, fire and weather are just some of the day-to-day hazards growers must deal with.
While insurance products are available to manage these risks, they represent a significant cost, and the additional cost of stump duty acts as a disincentive.
Saving more than $1000 a year on the average multi-peril crop insurance policy could mean the difference between taking a policy, or going without.
The NSW Government's initiative followed that of Victoria - stamp duty on livestock, crop and machinery insurance in that state were removed from July 1, 2017. The removal of stamp duty in the southern states only puts more pressure on the Queensland Government to follow their lead.
In Queensland, stamp duty on crop and farm business insurance is a comparatively stratospheric 9pc. Rest assured, Cotton Australia has already brought this to the attention of legislators in the northern state.
Earlier this month Cotton Australia wrote to Queensland Treasurer Pitt urging him to remove the stamp duty, pointing out Queensland's laggard status and arguing the point that its current policy is a serious disincentive to farmers to manage their own risks. Since the budget announcements by Victoria and NSW, Cotton Australia has again written to the Queensland Treasurer, and to the Queensland Opposition.
It is time for the Queensland Government to indicate its support for the state’s farmers by removing stamp duty on crop and livestock insurance.