Sugar cane levy information

​​​​​Important—You can lodge your sugar cane return ​online.

Why is there a levy on sugar cane?

The Australian Government introduces levies and export charges at the request of industry. These levies variously fund research and development, marketing, residue testing, plant and animal biosecurity programs and emergency responses for industry.

The sugar cane levy funds Sugar Research Australia (SRA) sugar cane research and development (R&D). The Department of Agriculture – Levies collects and distributes the levies. To find out more, visit Sugar Research Australia.

What is the levy payable on?

Levy is payable on sugar cane if it is:

(a) sold to a processing establishment or
(b) grown by a processing establishment and processed by the establishment or
(c) processed by a processing establishment on behalf of the owner of the sugar cane.

Who pays the levy? Who submits returns?

The producer of the sugar cane is liable to pay 50 per cent (50%) of the total levy. (Refer to General information and definitions for the definition of producer.) The processor of the sugar cane is liable to pay the remaining 50% of the total levy.

The processor must pay both levy amounts and submit all return forms to the Department of Agriculture - Levies. The processor can recover from the producer the producer's share of the total levy paid, by offset or otherwise.

Download a return form or contact your Department of Agriculture - Levies state office.

What is the levy rate on sugar cane?

Sugar cane: 70 cents ($0.70) per tonne.

The rate is current as at 1 May 2014.

Australian Government levies exclude GST.

Are there any exemptions from this levy?

No exemptions apply.

When is the payment due?

Monthly returns

The return must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture - Levies within 28 days of the end of the month in which the processor bought or processed the sugar cane.

The first instalment payment is due on the same day as the return (28th day after the end of the month). This payment must be a minimum of 60% of the levy declared on the return. You can choose to pay more than the minimum required.

The remainder of the levy (second instalment) is due on 28 February in the following calendar year.

General information and definitions

Sugar cane means stalks (whether whole or not) of the sugar cane plant, or stalks (whether whole or not) and leaves of the sugar cane plant.

The producer of sugar cane is:

(a) if a processing establishment processes sugar cane it has grown itself—the processor; or
(b) if sugar cane is processed on behalf of the owner of the sugar cane—the owner of the sugar cane or
(c) if (a) and (b) do not apply—the person who sells the sugar cane to a processing establishment.

Premises in Australia are a processing establishment if sugar cane processed at those premises during a season amounts to 3,000 tonnes or more. A season is the period from 1 March to 28 February in the following year.

Sugar cane is taken to be sold to a processing establishment when the first payment for the sugar cane is made, whether the payment represents the whole, or part only, of the purchase price for the sugar cane

What legislation covers this levy?

A legislative framework of imposition, collection and disbursement legislation authorises and supports Australia’s primary industries levies system. The imposition and collection acts for the sugar cane levy are:

Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999

Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991

Please note that, under section 27 of the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991, an authorised Department of Agriculture officer can release the names and addresses of levy payers to industry bodies and levy recipient organisations. 

Download the legislation from ComLaw or contact CanPrint Information Services on 02 6293 8383 to purchase a copy.

This information sheet is a guide only and does not substitute for the relevant legislation.