The VFF grains group in Victoria is weighing up options to make up for lost income due to low levy contributions.
The group has been hard hit by the drought, with voluntary levies drying up to the point where the group will no longer be able to meet its operational costs.
VFF grains group treasurer Eric Sharkey said the revenue from levies was only $46,000 for 2008, compared to a budget of $219,000 - a marked drop on what members used to contribute via the levy of 0.15 percent.
Mr Sharkey said that while some portion of the predicament came down to lower production levels, he also thought that members were not fulfilling their commitment to pay the levy.
Market deregulation and increasing domestic market options have also meant that it is harder to collect the levy from grain receivers and buyers.
Alternative funding arrangements were discussed at the VFF grains group annual conference in Lorne.
One suggestion was for a one-off flat fee, flagged at $500.
However, members voted to consider the options during the year and discuss the move towards a flat membership fee at next year’s conference.
The grains group books were sorry reading this year – with a loss of $472,417, $1m under budget, in spite of all the major expenditure areas coming in under budget.
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