The Federal Coalition appears set to grant the Cattle Council of Australia’s wish for funding to help pay for its restructure, if the Turnbull Government is re-elected this weekend.
But it seems unlikely the council will receive the full $4 million it recently requested.
Late last week the Coalition pledged to create a $5 million “Leadership in Agricultural Industries” fund, if it wins the July 2 federal election (this Saturday).
The $5m fund will be open not just to Cattle Council but to all similar industry representative organisations across the agricultural landscape.
Farm representative groups and peak industry councils will be able to apply for grants from the fund to develop the skills of their leaders and to help lead their industries through transitional and structural adjustments.
The Cattle Council of Australia welcomed the announcement, saying in a media release the $5m fund would enable bodies like the council to continue their advocacy and policy roles.
CCA CEO Jed Matz said the council was looking forward to seeing more detail on how the funding would be allocated and exactly what activities or projects will be funded under the commitment.
A spokesperson for Minister Joyce’s office told Beef Central that the structure of the fund and the parameters for eligibility criteria have yet to be finalised, and will be determined post-election.
It is clear, though, that the $5m fund will be open to organisations across all agricultural sectors, and will be distributed according to the strength of the business cases underpinning each application for funding.
As such it is likely there will be competition for the funding, which will dilute the amount available to any single applicant.
That suggests the Cattle Council’s request for $4 million will be well above what it can expect from this $5m, industry wide fund.
Cattle Council is proposing to restructure into a fully directly elected national organisation to more effectively represent grassfed cattle producers across Australia.
All seats on its board, most of which are currently appointed by State Farm Organisations, would be filled by cattle producers directly-elected by cattle levy payers from around Australia.
Efforts to achieve this restructure, which is based on feedback from grassfed producers across the country, had consumed vast industry resources in recent years, and Government assistance was now required to fund the transition, the council said earlier this month.
It said $4m was the minimum amount needed to set up the new directly elected producer organisation, and to develop sustainable funding streams to ensure its long-term success.
“Since 2013, the Council has been pushing towards structural change, including a sustainable funding model, to adequately deliver the advocacy, policy and strategic services the grass fed industry needs,’’ Cattle Council CEO Jed Matz said.
“Cattle Council called on the major political parties earlier this month for an election commitment of seed funding to establish a directly elected producer organisation underpinned by a sustainable funding model.
“Cattle Council is also committed to fostering leadership within the beef industry through its own initiatives and today’s announcement shows there is strong support for these programs in industry.”