But stressed it is vital the register be made available for important democratic work on behalf of levy payers.
The Levy Payer Register is a database of the details of individuals and organisations who pay red meat industry-specific transaction levies – read more here.
As it is currently drafted in the legislation, ‘eligible recipients’ of levy payer information are Research and Development Corporations (RDCs – in the case of the cattle transaction levy that is MLA) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS cannot establish a Levy Payer Register but can seek access to the data to perform any of its functions.
Once established, an RDC can use the levy payer information from their register for the specific purposes:
- to maintain a register of who has paid a levy and/or charge
- to maintain a register of persons eligible to vote in a poll conducted by, or on behalf of, the RDC
- to make public information of a statistical nature
- in performing its functions under law of the Commonwealth or under a contract or agreement with the Commonwealth
- to determine whether a person is or remains eligible to be a member of the RDC.
The legislation says levy payer information may not be used for purposes such as:
- agri-political activities
- increase the membership of an industry representative body
- an activity that would give a commercial advantage to a participant in the industry
- an activity unrelated to the function of the RDC.
Access to the levy payer information by a third party (ie, anyone outside of MLA) can only occur with the approval of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.