Cattle Council calls for $4 million in Govt funding

Beef Central, 06/06/2016

The Cattle Council of Australia is calling on the major political parties to commit $4 million to pay for the council’s long-planned restructure if they win the Federal election.

Cattle Council of Australia and various other grassfed producer representative groups have spent several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of Cattle Council’s reserves trying to come up with an agreed restructure plan.

The groups last year said they had agreed on a new representative model which would see the current Cattle Council, which is led predominantly by directors appointed by state farming organisations, replaced by a board of cattle producers directly elected by cattle levy payers from around Australia.

The new group would combine policy setting, policy delivery and advocacy, CCA president Howard Smith said in a media statement issued this morning.

However, implementation of the new body can only be progressed with government cooperation to develop sustainable funding streams for the new organisation, he said.

The Council says it has been pushing towards structural change since 2013, but it is much longer if you count the council’s commitment to reform expressed at AGM at Longreach in November 2011.

It is still yet to identify a sustainable funding model to support the new directly-elected body if and when it is implemented.

The council originally hoped the new body could be funded from compulsory grassfed cattle industry levies. The senate inquiry into grassfed levy structures had supported this idea with a recommendation that a new producer-owned body be established by legislation to receive and disperse all grassfed cattle levy funds for R&D and marketing, “Reforming the Cattle Council of Australia to achieve these outcomes should be examined as part of this process,” the first recommendation stated.

However the Federal Government rejected the idea, saying it would destabilise broader red meat industry structures including Meat & Livestock Australia, and would make new producer representative organisation beholden to the Federal Government. Having its funding based controlled by the Federal Government (compulsory levies are seen under legislation as tax funds and therefore Govt-owned funds) would compromise the new body’s ability to express its views without fear or favour, Mr Joyce argued at the time.

The government indicated it would consider proposals from industry for new funding arrangements with a preference for non-government sources and provision of member services.

Mr Smith said the issue had consumed vast industry resources over the past three years.

“A large amount of industry resources have been lost and it is essential the new government commits to working with industry to find a long-term solution,’’ he said.

“Ultimately what is required is Government and industry working together to implement a sustainable funding system that delivers activities that enhance the position of cattle producers.’’

The council was now seeking a commitment of at least $4 million from both the major parties to work with industry to fund the implementation of the directly elected producer organisation, Mr Smith said.

Beef Central this morning asked the office of Federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce and opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon for their response to the request, but had not heard back by the time of today’s daily news email. We will follow up with their responses tomorrow.

Asked how the $4 million figure was arrived at, Cattle Council told Beef Central this morning the figure was based on “the minimum funding requirements to set up the body and the development of sustainable funding streams to ensure the long-term success of the new organisation”.

“In developing long-term and sustainable funding models, Cattle Council hopes to secure the future of the new organisation and advance industry through strong advocacy, representation and service delivery,” the council’s response said.

In the CCA media statement this morning, Mr Smith said adequate funding would allow a new corporation to engage in well-researched policy development to identify the challenges facing grass-fed cattle producers.

He said the need to strengthen the representation of, and service to, the grass-fed cattle sector was fundamental to achieving greater accountability to levy payers.

The council said in March that it was working on future funding options and expected to have a number of models available for producers to vote on soon.

CCA told Beef Central this morning that is continuing to move towards a direct membership model, with funding derived from membership as well as other potential commercial revenue streams.

Mr Smith said the planned restructure represented a long-term solution for the grass-fed cattle industry.

“Grass-fed beef producers need to have control and oversight of the $64 million they pay annually through the compulsory levy.

“For this new organisation to be effective, it needs to be focused on the strategic direction of the industry and overseeing the expenditure of the grass-fed levy and cannot be hindered by funding issues,’’ he said.

Source: Cattle Council of Australia


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  1. Rod Dunbar - Director United Stockowners of Australia, 09/06/2016

    An act of complete desperation! CCA and its new found friends are trying to maintain control of the collective and of course the funding stream from cattle transaction levies (CTL) – they no longer have widespread membership support through the SFO network, they have done nothing to enhance the economic prosperity for the grass-fed sector since they were appointed public officials by the Liberal Government under Minister Anderson in 1997. The structure, which is pure agrarian socialism was dreamed up by CCA prior to 1997 is a failure – it has failed to produce any real increase in income to grass-fed producers and it has added considerably to the cost of production by compulsory enforcement of regulation which is loathed throughout the country. They have overseen expenditure of more than $1 billion since 1997 and there is nothing to show for it, dead money, and a complete waste.
    Under no circumstance should CCA be funded as a political organization (which is what it is) a satellite of the National Party,to carry out the type of control we have all witnessed since 1997; its membership nationally is at levels below 10% of grass-fed producers nationally and yet it still holds the coveted federal government appointment of “prescribed industry body”; that appears to be the only thing they have left, political patronage, they call it a “seat in the tent”.

    We want a new deal, one that is not controlled by government, and for that to occur we need complete de-regulation; a position that CCA is fiercely opposed to; CCA does not believe in Liberty, Individualism, Toleration, or Limited government for the cattle industry they assume that order requires some institution, some body, primarily under the direction of a federal Act and Minister (like CCA)to manipulate and organize things; the group(s) that do the organization on behalf of Government are all part of that elite minority group of unelected agri-politicial organizations connected to the Liberal/National Party movement. Government claims “we’re forcing you to do X because it’s in your own interests to do so.” Whereas when people with power do that, it’s really because it’s good for themselves and their perceived political movement that has that insatiable desire to control, and not the individual, and certainly not to the economic benefit of the individual.

    Whilst CCA has a right to represent its members; it should never be funded by Government; it can and should never represent non members, as it is doing at present and has done since 1997; it must have the government status of “prescribed industry body” removed and repealed. The structure needs to go – repeal the AMLI Act and withdraw the CTL.

  2. Peter James McHugh, 07/06/2016

    John & Sandy ,I understand your frustrations from your comments regarding the request for $4 million dollars in funding to restructure CCA (be it from MLA producer levy funds). Unfortunately without an initial fund support it is evident that CCA will never be able to control their MOU with MLA which is vital to stop the imbalance within the beef industry.
    There were seven vital recommendations to come out of the MLA levy Senate inquiry, all relevant to reestablishing balance in the beef industry structure. Unfortunately the minister (Barnaby Joyce) was blind sighted by the beef industry groups who were benefiting from MLA levy and grant funds not being spread evenly through out the cattle industry. So only two recommendations (1 & 7) were commissioned by the minister. One was unfunded (CCA restructure) and the other being mandatory price transparency.
    Now we have seen the release of milestone 4 & 5 after the normal hide & seek from MLA where there was 8 months of negative commentary regarding the positive mandatory price transparency report. This positive report 4 was locked up for 13 months before being released (under duress) into the main stream media.
    The results to date highlight the need to completely revamp cattle council, as again I feel the are being railroaded. I doubt the board have had any real say over the release of the preferred option, being a reversal from the initial milestone 4 positive mandatory price transparency to a voluntary price transparency (milestone 5 reporting the implementation costings on both would be the same)
    Before others tell me I’m out of line, can CCA release their board decisions from Canberra meeting on the 24th of May , as reported by Richard Norton there were further decisions for work to be carried out by MLA, this might shed light on how they came up with the unworkable voluntary option.

  3. Sandy Maconochie, 06/06/2016

    They must be kidding. First the target was levies, now the taxpayer, good grief. CCA has to find ways to fund itself, just like other industry representative bodies.

  4. john gunthorpe, 06/06/2016

    Tough call Jed. When members are still battling drought and the CCA-inflicted Queensland Government BJD Protection Zone Policy driving producers into bankruptcy and severe community stress, to continue the push for more money at this time seems unwise.
    Barnaby Joyce responded to your request after Howard Smith and others met with him in Brisbane in December 2014. He said it was up to CCA to change their business model and start earning income from outside activities with industry. It was clear at the meeting that CCA struggled to manage their memorandum of understanding with MLA and more effort in this area would reduce the grass fed cattle levies expended by MLA on marketing and R&D. MLA were uncontrolled in their expenditure and CCA had let the industry down by not reining in their activity. More recently this is evidenced by the number of people leaving MLA as Richard Norton applies his knife to the MLA corporate structure.
    Currently I am helping a family in Queensland selling up their property under bank pressure after being in quarantine for over 2 years “suspect” of BJD. The disease was not found on their property like so many others. They had no debt before the visit from the QDAFF officer carrying the notice of quarantine. Costs keep going but income stops. And all this for a disease MLA reports costs northern Australia $300,000 per annum.
    84% of Queensland is still drought declared. There are so many issues that CCA should be tackling and supporting those battling in the bush. Last October you used the limited CCA funds to pay for a trip for Howard Smith, Jed Matz, Heidi Eldridge and 3 past Rising Champions winners to attend a 5 day tour to Mexico with the Five Nations Beef Alliance. Plane tickets, accommodation, meals, entertainment – if the funds are so short why are you spending money on these expenses. I am sure you will say it is important to keep up good relations with Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA but surely overseas jaunts are not advisable when times are tough.
    Why do you go back to trough arguing to lift your funding from the current $1.3 million to $4 million when you have failed to demonstrate any ability to respond to the Minister’s suggestions regarding a change in your business model and when you are misallocating what you already have.
    Wise up Howard and Jed.

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