News

CA and NFF still in discussions over funding arrangement

Eric Barker, 11/06/2024

Cattle Australia CEO Dr Chris Parker

CATTLE Australia says while it has plenty in common with the National Farmers’ Federation, it has not received justification for paying more than $200,000 in membership fees.

An article in The Weekly Times this morning said CA had told the NFF it was “unwilling and unable” to pay a $220,000 subscription and was given a one-year extension to a $44,000 rate the former Cattle Council of Australia was paying. It also implied the NFF was looking to start its own cattle representation model if CA can’t pay up.

CA is one of more than 30 organisations that make up the NFF, which includes other industry bodies and state farm organisations – all required to membership fees.

CA chief executive officer Chris Parker said was still in discussions with NFF about its fee structure – which it was not currently satisfied with.

“CA is well resourced and the new constitution of CA, developed by the eight State Farming Organisations in adherence to the modern advocacy landscape, requires the payment of membership fees to be justified by a strong value proposition,” Dr Parker said.

“CA has acknowledged there are areas of common interest with NFF, including wage laws, awards, diesel rebates and safety compliance, and alignment for NFF to represent and advocate for the entire producer population in Australia.

“However, at this stage, the requisite justification has not been sufficiently made to support a membership fee in excess of $200,000.

“CA advised NFF that subject to NFF constitutional review, CA was happy to continue its non-voting membership at the previous amount of approximately $40,000.”

The story is the latest in a series on division between farming organisations, including Victorian Farmers’ Federation pulling its membership of several peak commodity groups.

Dr Parker said CA was still in talks with the NFF, SFOs and other organisations to come up with the best way of representing agriculture.

“CA’s purpose is to be a powerful voice representing cattle producers and beef lovers across the country by providing a visible, unified, and influential voice in agricultural advocacy,” he said.

“Our foremost priority, as the national peak body for the grass-fed cattle industry, is clearly and strongly advocating on the matters that are most important to Australian cattle producers.”

NFF reviewing fee structures

The National Farmers’ Federation would not comment directly on the CA negotiations. However, interim chief executive officer Charles Thomas said the organisation was reviewing its fee structures.

“The NFF and our members have committed to reviewing the evidence and data relating to the respective business model and advocacy framework for Australian agriculture and having a discussion as to the way forward and making changes where necessary to enhance farmers/producer representation,” Mr Thomas said.

“The specific activity and plan including details about membership structure and specific fees are internal matters and we won’t be commenting further on these.”

Asked whether all organisations had paid up their membership, Mr Thomas said there were different situations with different organisations.

“The structure of agricultural representative organisations has been a topic of discussion for decades and it will continue to make sure we have the best system to ensure agriculture and farmers are heard,” he said.

“The current model is a complex and intertwined system that has worked well but we know it isn’t perfect. Some representative organisations are going along just fine – others face challenges from financial to structural from time to time.

“There are a range of organisations in our network and they are all slightly different in their make up and structure so it’s a challenge to get a seamless model that suits everyone but that’s our aspiration.

“The goal of our collective commitment and the ongoing discussions is to recognise what’s working well and enhance that – but to also work constructively towards a system that engages as many producers as possible, representing them in a way that is effective, efficient and relevant to the issues at hand.”

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Comments

  1. Andrew Dunlop, 14/06/2024

    CA say above and I quote
    “CA’s purpose is to be a powerful voice representing cattle producers and beef lovers across the country by providing a visible, unified, and influential voice in agricultural advocacy,” he said.

    “Our foremost priority, as the national peak body for the grass-fed cattle industry, is clearly and strongly advocating on the matters that are most important to Australian cattle producers.”

    CA was absent from list of submissions to the ACCC supermarkets inquiry. CA was the supposed light on the hill for grass fed levy payers. To say it has underperformed would be an understatement. If NFF are going to set up their own cattle industry body, then I will support it as it appears to me CA is yet another dead horse grass fed levy payers have hitched their wagon to.

  2. Val Dyer, 11/06/2024

    Too many advisors and influencers behind the scenes promoting their own personal and company agendas.

    From a cattle producer’s perspective, remove RMAC so CA is able to represent cattle producers at the highest level of government.

    Simplify direct representation to governments from each national agricultural industry organisation yet maintain the NFF which should look after the macro issues for the agricultural sector.

    State multi commodity organisations are probably beyond their use by date.

  3. John Gunthorpe, 11/06/2024

    If you cannot attract members paying their membership fees to meet your bills, you have no authority to act.
    Australian Cattle Industry Council

  4. John Armstrong, 11/06/2024

    Arbitration has always and should always rest with the NFF. Other fly by night operators get tangled up in it, it would be disastrous for all rural employers and employees, as, if the national lobby is divided then Govt will sink their boot in wherever they can. I sure hope CA have a few egg producers on side – they might a few eggs to suck on soon.

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