Cattle Council of Australia statement released in response to the Federal Government’s grassfed senate inquiry reply:
Twenty months after Minister Joyce announced there would be a Senate Inquiry into the collection and disbursement of levies in the beef industry, the Cattle Council is disappointed that the Government and the Minister has not been able to deliver a better outcome for grassfed industry representation.
“The Minister has not been able to deliver what we wanted but he has left the door open, if industry remains united” said Howard Smith, Cattle Council President.
“It’s time for Cattle Council to take back the reins and continue the work with Government and key stakeholders to deliver a strong, sustainable representative body for the industry.”
“Cattle Council is committed to implementing the new organisational structure for grassfed beef representation that was agreed to by industry and announced by the Minister,” said Mr Smith (17 February 2015 Media Release).
“To implement this new model, Cattle Council will need to develop a long-term, sustainable funding model to support the new structure” said Mr Smith.
Cattle Council will now implement and lead a process to finalise a proposal that will include:
- The new Strategic Plan for the industry from 2015 – 2020;
- The new structure for beef industry representation; and
- A sustainable funding model.
Once developed in the coming months, the proposal will be widely circulated for industry to consider and then Cattle Council will submit the proposal to a vote of all levy payers for final approval.
“We will be expecting the Minister to do all within his power to support Cattle Council in developing this proposal and putting it to an industry vote”, said Mr Smith.
If supported by industry the proposal will then be taken to government so that the new body can replace Cattle Council as the Peak Council for the Grassfed beef industry.
Details of the proposal development process will be announced in the coming weeks. Cattle Council plans to have a proposal ready for a vote of all levy payers in the coming months.
Comments on Government’s Response to 7 Senate Recommendations
Response to Recommendation 1
- Cattle Council is disappointed that the response was not able to provide the new body with a sustainable funding source.
- Cattle Council will now implement and lead a process to develop a funding model for industry to vote on.
- This process will be announced in the near future and will include looking at commercial and levy revenue options.
- The new industry structure can’t be adopted until a secure income source is identified and agreed.
- Cattle Council is supportive of a review of the Red Meat MOU. This review will need to strengthen the oversight role of Cattle Council on MLA and review the make up of current industry committees to ensure grassfed beef is appropriately represented.
Response to Recommendation 2
- As indicated in the response, Cattle Council has already requested MLA commence a project to assess how we can better identify levy payers and the amount of levy they have paid. It is important that this information be recognised as sensitive but must be able to assist with improved consultation between levy payers and their peak councils.
Response to Recommendation 3
- Cattle Council agrees with the Government’s response.
Response to Recommendation 4
- Improved accountability is important and Cattle Council is supportive of the Government’s response.
- Cattle Council believes that MLA’s peak councils should have an active role in setting the ToR for and participating in MLA’s required review under their Statutory Funding agreement.
Response to Recommendation 5
- Agree that RMAC plays an important role for the red meat sector on cross-sectorial issues, however, Cattle Council still believes that all organisations must continually review their effectiveness in order to make improvements
Response to Recommendation 6
- The MLA donor company (MDC) plays an important role in attracting investment to the red meat sector and should be maintained. With improved transparency the MDC should be better appreciated for the critical investment it generates. It is important that beef producers are aware of the benefits the MDC creates for the wider read meat sector.
Response to Recommendation 7
- Cattle Council requested MLA undertake a project to analyse possible options for increasing price transparency in the beef supply chain, including the benefits and costs of introducing mandatory price reporting arrangements in Australia, similar to those operating in the United States. This work is currently underway.
Source: Cattle Council of Australia