FFS Rates & Return
Setting and Reviewing of APC Fee For Service (FFS)
Under Section 14 of the APC Act 1988
The imposition of charges (FFS) under the APC Act requires that the Commission and its Committees are vigilant in the setting of the FFS charge.
The Commission therefore requires Committees to observe the following requirements in the setting of FFS in order for the Agricultural Produce Commission to remain within the requirements of setting and collecting a FFS under the Act, and to provide comfort that the collection of FFS under the Act does not infringe on Section 90 of the Commonwealth Constitution.
The Committee must identify services for FFS paying producers through consultation with the FFS paying producers, ensuring that services are of direct benefit to the fee paying producers.
The Commission advertises each February on behalf of Committees, requesting expressions of interest for services which can be funded by FFS. This is undertaken to assist Committees in identifying services which directly benefit producers. The Committee has primary responsibility of communication and consulting with their FFS paying producers to agree on services to be provided for any given year.
The Committee must have a current strategic plan (achieved through consultation as above) which identifies services to be provided and their benefits to FFS paying producers.
The strategic plan must correlate to the budget for a given year.
Once a service has been identified, then the cost of providing that service must be calculated and finally a suitable FFS instated. A generic collection of a fee providing a pool of funds which is then suited to services is not in line with a ‘fee for service’.
There must be a clear correlation between ‘service’ provided and ‘fee’ charged.
Benefits provided must be consistent with the level of fee paid by a producer.
A service to be provided which delivers an ‘industry’ good is not justification for a FFS on any individual FFS paying producer – the producer in question must benefit from the service provided to a degree consistent with the level of fees paid.
The budget provided to the Commission for approval each year must clearly identify services being provided, and these services must be in line with the approved Functions of that Committee and the Functions of section 12.1 of the Act.
The current rate of FFS, and its appropriateness in relation to services being provided, MUST be reviewed annually, when the Committee undertakes its budgeting process. The budget submitted to the Commission must include a statement that appropriateness of FFS has been reviewed and agreed by the Committee.
The following practices of Committees provide further security in the collection of FFS.
Voluntary aspect of FFS
The recent suspension of FFS collection by the avocado industry and the FFS collection for Carnarvon Banana Biosecurity illustrate the voluntary aspect of the FFS, in that at the request and direction of the growers paying the FFS, when a majority of FFS payers agree, the collection of FFS can be suspended.
Direct Fee for Service paying producers involvement and accountability.
The APC Act requires that the Committee which sets/collects the fee is composed of producers for that industry. This ensures that all services provided by the Committee are controlled by FFS payers and accountability to the FFS paying producers is preserved.
As at September 2013