Dairy produce levy

​​​​​Important – You can lodge your dairy produce return online

The dairy produce levy was first introduced 28 May 1964. Whole milk or whole milk products that are produced in Australia and delivered to a manufacturer or produced and used by a manufacturer to make dairy produce will attract a levy. Dairy Australia Limited and Animal Health Australia (AHA) manage the expenditure of the dairy produce levy.

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Dairy produce levy rates

The dairy produce levy rate comprises AHA membership, marketing and research and development (R&D), as shown in the table below:

Levy componentLevy rate – Milk fat Levy rate – Protein
AHA0.0580 cents per kilogram 0.1385 cents per kilogram
R&D and Marketing2.8683 cents per kilogram6.9914 cents per kilogram
SUB TOTAL2.9263 cents per kilogram7.1299 cents per kilogram
TOTAL 10.0562 cents per kilogram

The dairy produce levy is calculated per kilogram. Where test results are not available to determine the milk fat or protein content, the Dairy Produce Regulations 1986 prescribe the milk fat rate to be 3.2 per cent and the protein content to be 3 per cent. GST is not applied to Australian Government levies.

Example: to calculate the number of kilograms of milk fat, multiply the number of litres by the percentage of milk fat. You must then multiply the total number of kilograms of milk fat by 2.9263 cents.

Example: to calculate the number of kilograms of protein, multiply the number of litres by the percentage of protein. You must then multiply the total number of kilograms of protein by 7.1299 cents.

What is dairy produce?

Diary produce includes milk, cream and other such products made from or containing milk.

Dairy produce may also include a constituent part of milk that is declared by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and published in the Gazette to be dairy produce. Should the Minister make such a declaration, the department will ensure that this information is made available.

Do I need to lodge a return and make a payment?

A producer, a person who produces dairy produce or is a manufacturer of dairy produce is liable to pay the dairy produce levy.

If you produce whole milk or manufacture whole milk products and sell your product through an intermediary, including through a first purchaser, buying agent or selling agent, the amount of levy they pay to the department on your behalf can be recovered from you by offset or otherwise.

If you produce whole milk or manufacture whole milk products and process and use your whole milk commercially, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department as the milk is processed. Example:  On farm cheese making.

If you are an intermediary, including a first purchaser, buying agent or selling agent, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the department. You can recover from the producer the amount of levy paid to the department by offset or otherwise.

Annual return of dairy producer information (milk delivered to a manufacturer)

If you lodge a dairy produce (monthly) return and make a payment to the department you must also complete and lodge the annual return of dairy producer information once a year.

To complete your annual return of dairy producer information, your return for that financial year must include each producer’s:

  1. Full name
  2. Business or residential address (not being the post office box or post office bag)
  3. If the producer has a post office box or post office bag, that address
  4. Australian Business Number (if any)
  5. Contact details (phone number and email address)
  6. Amount of levy liable to be paid for the financial year
  7. Quantity of milk, in litres, on which levy was paid on behalf of the producer
  8. Amount of protein content, in kilograms, of the milk on which levy was paid on behalf of the producer, and
  9. Amount of milk fat, in kilograms, of the milk on which levy was paid on behalf of the producer.

How will the dairy producer information be used?

The information collected in the annual return of dairy producer information may be given to Dairy Australia by an ‘authorised person’ appointed by the Secretary of the department in accordance with the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 (the PILCC Act).

If the information is given to Dairy Australia, the PILCC Act would restrict Dairy Australia’s use of the producer information to:

  1. Maintain a register of levy payers
  2. Maintain a register of producers eligible to vote in any poll conducted by, or on behalf of, Dairy Australia
  3. Publish statistics; and
  4. Perform its functions under legislation or a funding contract.

Exemptions from paying the dairy produce levy

No exemptions apply to the dairy produce levy.

How do I lodge a dairy produce return?

You must register with the department to receive a unique LRS number before you can lodge your first return.

Monthly returns

To lodge your return online, access Levies Online. Alternatively, you can complete a manual dairy produce return form.

Annual return of dairy producer information

To lodge your annual return, download and complete the Excel template or the manual dairy producer annual return form.

Return and payment dates

IMPORTANT: If you pay your levy late you will incur a penalty that is calculated daily at a compounding rate of 2 per cent of the unpaid amount each month, including any penalties you have already accrued, until you have paid the outstanding amount in full.

The dairy produce levy is based on a financial year.

Monthly returns and payments

Monthly returns and payments must be lodged with the department within 28 days of the end of the month in which the transaction took place.

Example: for the month of July, the return and payment is due to the department on or before 28 August.

Annual return of dairy producer information

The annual return of dairy producer information must be lodged with the department on or before 28 July of the next financial year.

Example: for the 2016-17 financial year, you must provide details about each producer that you dealt with during that financial year in your annual return due to the department on or before 28 July 2017.

What must be included in my return?

As a first purchaser, manufacturer (including a producer who transfers relevant dairy produce to their own manufacturing facility to manufacture dairy produce), buying agent or selling agent who deals in relevant dairy produce in the month, your return for a month must include :

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. Australian Business Number (ABN), or if you are a company the Australian Company Number (ACN)
  2. Period to which the return relates
  3. Amount, in litres, of whole milk that was delivered to, or processed
  4. Amount, in litres, of whole milk produced by the person (except milk consumed, lost or disposed of on the farm where it was produced), and
  5. Content details of the milk mentioned in the return.

A return for a levy year must include:

  1. Your personal details, including:
    1. Full name
    2. Business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag
    3. Post office box or post office bag, and
    4. Australian Business Number (ABN), or if you are a company the Australian Company Number (ACN)
  2. Period to which the return relates, and
  3. Producer details mentioned above in the Annual return of dairy producer information (milk delivered to a manufacturer) section of this webpage.

What records do I need to keep?

As a first purchaser, manufacturer (including a producer who transfers relevant dairy produce to their own manufacturing facility to manufacture dairy produce), buying agent or selling agentwho deals in relevant dairy produce in a month, you must keep records for five (5) years, setting out for each month:

  1. For each person who supplied dairy produce, the:
    1. Person’s full name, business or residential address, not the address of a post office box or post office bag, the person’s Australian Business Number (ABN) and if the person if a company and does not have an ABN, it’s Australian Company Number (ACN).
    2. Quantity and content details of the produce that was supplied
    3. Amount of levy paid by the producer in respect of that produce
    4. Quantity and the content details of the produce in which no levy has been paid, and
    5. Quantity and content details of the produce that was processed by or for the first purchaser, manufacturer, buying agent or selling agent.

Primary Industries Legislation

The dairy produce levy is provided for under the:

Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999, and

Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991.


This information is a guide only. If you are required to lodge a return and make a payment to the department it is your responsibility to remain aware of your obligation under legislation.

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