Business analyst chosen to review peak industry council operations

Beef Central, 29/01/2016

The Red Meat Advisory Council today announced that the Australian Farm Institute (AFI) will lead a landmark review project to identify possible new operating models to support the industry’s peak advocacy and policy bodies.

The project, as foreshadowed by Beef Central in this article last week, will identify practical options for future funding models for the various red meat industry peak councils.

RMAC Chairman Ross Keane, said the project is set to provide a major contribution to the Government’s response to the 2014-15 Senate Inquiry into industry structures and systems governing levies on grass-fed cattle.

“While the genesis of this project resides within the grass-fed beef sector, we are acutely aware that the operating environment for Peak Industry Councils today is vastly different to that of the late 1990s.”

“Like any business or organisation, RMAC and its Member Councils must look for ways and means to improve how we operate”, Mr Keane added.

RMAC Director and Cattle Council of Australia President Howard Smith welcomed the announcement as but one part – albeit a very important part – of a suite of review and reform recommendations to improve the quality and efficiency of advocacy and policy development in the grass-fed beef sector.

“The findings of this project will provide a roadmap to assist CCA in further addressing the issues identified in the Senate Inquiry”, Mr Smith said.

“Perhaps more importantly, AFI will be identifying practical options for- and considerations around – funding models for the Peak Industry Councils “, Mr Smith added.

In announcing the appointment of AFI to lead the project, as selected from a quality range of submissions, Mr Keane reiterated the practical and constructive focus of the project’s Terms of Reference.

“This project will provide our representative bodies with options to help them to establish sustainable operating models for their respective organisations”, Mr Keane concluded.

The Business Analyst project is set to commence in February, with a final report due by mid-year.

Minister welcomes progress on grass-fed and red meat sector representation reform

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed further progress on effective industry representation in the red meat sector.

Minister Joyce said the decision by the red meat industry to contract a specialist to look at new and innovative revenue streams, cost and business structures for red meat peak industry councils was a good one, and more specifically another step toward reforms flagged last year in the government’s response to the Senate Inquiry into systems and structures governing the grass-fed levy.

“Sustainable structures and revenue streams are vital to ensure that peak councils can provide strong representation for the red meat sector. This project will be particularly helpful in assisting the grass-fed sector to reform the Cattle Council into the directly elected model proposed to the government last year,” Minister Joyce said.

“When I released the government’s response to the Senate Inquiry into the levy system for grass-fed cattle, I made it clear that while the government was willing to work with industry on different models, it was important for industry to consider its long-term options and drive reform from within.

“The government will continue to ensure that producers—levy payers—have a strong voice in 2016 through the continued implementation of the government response to the grass fed levy inquiry and additionally in our response to the broader levies inquiry due in the coming months.

“This, along with the recent election of an additional grass-fed cattle member on Meat & Livestock Australia’s board selection committee and the current independent performance review, will help ensure there’s more transparency in spending and that producers get value for money and pragmatic outcomes from their research and development corporation that can make a real difference both on-farm and in the marketplace.

“The government will continue helping industry with the right policy settings, prioritising work on trade deals, maintaining a strong biosecurity system and providing support where it’s needed in tough times.

“We’ll also continue matching industry spending on research and development, ensuring that producers have the tools they need to drive growth, productivity and profitability in their industry.”

Sources: RMAC, Minister for Agriculture


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  1. John Gunthorpe, 01/02/2016

    You are right Bill apathy is a major problem. Having non elected members of our industry deciding how to spend $70 million of our levies for an extended period has led to this apathy. It is only $5 per head. There are so many matters we cannot control and this is just another. Well it is time that we did.

    If we as an industry are not getting a good bang for our buck on levies then they should be reduced, eliminated or better managed. This will not happen with people like Howard Smith controlling the spending of levy monies. He and Anna Campbell at AgForce gave us the Protection Zone policy for the management control of BJD – our least significant disease – and cost us some $70 million not to mention the social costs we incurred.

    It is time for change and the election of our directors is a good start.

  2. bill nicholas, 30/01/2016

    Things would’nt change if we had an elected CCA board
    We can’t even get 500 direct members of CCA
    Apathy is the biggest problem

  3. Peter Mc Hugh, 29/01/2016

    The scary part is Minister Joyce is being advised that all is hoky dory with in the industry, and the industry leaders will fix them self up. Minister Joyce needs to read the submissions from the MLA levy enquiry and red meat enquiry to show how bad MLA, Cattle Council &the RMAC have let the cattle producers down, Heaven help you Minister you have been a disappointment.

  4. John Gunthorpe, 29/01/2016

    In December 2014 a number of us attended a meeting called by the Minister to discuss the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the Grass-fed Cattle Levies. At that meeting it was identified that the major cause of the producer discontent was the inability of Cattle Council to manage its Memorandum of Understanding with Meat & Livestock Australia.

    Apparently it was felt that the other peak councils took this responsibility seriously and worked closely with MLA to optimize outcomes for their members levies. CCA did not.

    MLA reacted with a change to interacting with producers in designing future research projects. Unfortunately they persist with inappropriate marketing campaigns but when they are unsupervised this is the outcome. Hopefully Jed Matz and Howard Smith will have reacted positively to this criticism received from their fellow peak council heads.

    However I join David Byard and despair that there will ever be an elected board of CCA. As Terry White once said of Don Lane and Brian Austin when they deserted their party “The scent of ministerial leather is a powerful aphrodisiac”. I fear David the old guard enjoy the trappings of their role too much to give up the reins.

    RMAC are spending more of the levies on more consultants. There was opportunity for RMAC to offer this tablet at the Senate Inquiry in 2014. The model needed was outlined in the Senate Report. Again we have the peak councils spending levy monies investigating themselves. How many times do we need to be told that this is entirely inappropriate. The Senate Committee were independent and held an open inquiry. This smacks of more snouts in the trough and bordering up their protection barriers.

    Those who read the senate recommendations might recall that one was to disband the RMAC. How we waste money in agriculture is unbelievable.

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