The Federal Government has announced a $500,000 grant to help the grassfed cattle industry to develop a new directly elected peak industry body, under the working title of Cattle Australia, as recommended by the recent Senate Committee inquiry into the red meat sector.
The grant, which will go to Cattle Council of Australia, is one of 27 grants announced yesterday under the Federal Government’s $5 million Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund.
The delivery of the fund fulfils a Coalition election commitment in July last year to provide support to help farming, forestry and fisheries representative organisations improve their leadership skills, to fund structural changes and increase communication with farmers on policy and levy issues.
The funds were offered through a competitive grant process. The full list of the 27 successful applicants has not yet been released, however the Government yesterday confirmed that other grant recipients included the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, which received a $450,000 grant, and WoolProducers Australia, which received $187,430.
“These grants will assist the organisations to advocate agricultural and rural issues to the wider community and all levels of governments, further equipping their members to champion their industries’ priorities, join international trade delegations, open new markets and run national agribusiness organisations,” Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said. For more details on the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund on the DAWR website click here.
Mr Joyce said the Cattle Council of Australia will receive $500,000 to support activities leading to the establishment of Cattle Australia, a new representative body to provide leadership across the grass fed cattle industry, and for leadership capacity building once the entity is established.
“This industry led reform is welcome news and a much anticipated development for the cattle industry,” Mr Joyce said.
“This funding gives effect to the recommendations of the Senate Committee inquiry into the red meat sector which saw a role for government to assist Cattle Council of Australia transition to a new producer representative body.”
In a statement the Cattle Council of Australia said it welcomed the funding announcement, which it said would assist CCA to transition to a directly elected peak industry body to improve its capacity to lead the beef industry and strengthen the long term viability of the sector.
“The new organisation will be directly accountable to producers with representation through a direct elect model, that encourages levy payer direct engagement through consultation and policy development,” the CCA statement said.
Cattle Council of Australia President Howard Smith said Cattle Council had been working hard with many industry
“It is a credit to the current government and the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce that their commitment to Australia’s beef industry, beef producers and regional family businesses has remained strong,” Mr Smith said.
“CCA has remained committed to the restructure and providing Australia’s beef producers with better representation. We have undertaken incremental change over the past few years and with today’s announcement we are now equipped with the resources to take the next big step.
“CCA would like to thank our members for standing by us, and all those who volunteer their time and energy, who have participated for so long, with such perseverance.
The independent chair of the grassfed cattle industry restructure implementation committee, Troy Setter, said the announcement provided a clear pathway to implement a direct elect model that best serves the needs of the industry.
“We look forward to industry support as we implement this significant change” Mr Setter said.
How the $500,000 will be spent to further the grassfed cattle industry restructure process is not yet clear.
One key issue yet to be clarified, and still being debated by groups involved in the restructure implementation committee process, is whether the new directly elected body, Cattle Australia, will be formed as an entirely new organisation starting from a clean slate, as recommended by the Senate committee, or as a restructured version of the existing Cattle Council of Australia.