07 Feb

Australia: MIS ruling could squeeze olive growers

By Nassim Khadem
Photo: Andrew Taylor

ROB McGavin, the chief executive of Australia’s largest olive oil producer, Boundary Bend, says his is just one of many rural companies that could fold if managed investment schemes in agribusiness are scrapped.

He was in Canberra yesterday fighting to save his business, and shocked at the Federal Government announcement that the Tax Office will scrap tax breaks on non-forestry managed investment schemes from July 1.

Although the future of non-forestry MIS schemes has been in doubt for the past eight months, Mr McGavin said he had expected the Government to undertake a review at the very least, and on that basis continued pumping money into new projects.

The company is contracted by Timbercorp to run five rural sites across Victoria, and employs 115 full-time staff. Mr McGavin said they would have to retrench workers unless the Government intervened.

“It has taken us two years to get ready for this — we spent $7 million growing olive trees and purchasing and preparing land for planting in spring 2007 and 2008, that was due to be sold through MIS in June 2008 and 2009. But now we don’t have any time to restructure our business,” he said.

He said many rural towns in Victoria would be hurt if the scheme was scrapped. “The contractors and small businesses rely on us … and here the Government is knocking hundreds of millions of dollars of investment into regional Australia.”

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