Cattle Council to receive $1.9m from MLA, project to upskill producer leadership

James Nason, 15/08/2017

Cattle Council of Australia and Meat & Livestock Australia have today finalised a new two year project through which the peak industry council will receive $1.9m in levy-funding from MLA to conduct specific project work, focused specifically on developing grassfed producer leadership skills.

The agreement is in effect the next “service level agreement” between the two organisations for the next two years.

The existing two-year SLA is due to expire in September. Beef Central has been inquiring about the progress of discussions to develop a new SLA in recent weeks, and today MLA and CCA confirmed details of the new agreement.

MLA said the $1.9 million ‘Building capacity in the Grassfed Beef Industry’ project will offer a suite of professional development initiatives for both current and aspiring industry leaders that will be delivered through the Cattle Council of Australia (CCA), on behalf of MLA, over the next two years.

It said emerging leaders within the grassfed beef sector will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to take on industry leadership roles through the MLA investment.

The project would contribute to the achievement of two of the highest priorities in the Meat Industry’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 (MISP 2020); ‘building leadership capability’ and ‘protecting and promoting our industry’.

MLA Managing Director Richard Norton said strong leadership, a skilled workforce and the ability to attract the best and brightest minds to the industry were key ingredients to securing the potential of the Australian red meat and livestock industry.

“The development of capable leaders with a whole of value chain, global perspective will ensure there are highly skilled producers who can continue to represent industry and effectively contribute to policy decisions into the future,” Mr Norton said.

“While developing the skills base of the current generation, this project is also about developing emerging talent and I want to encourage the ‘up-and-comers’ within our industry to seek out these opportunities through the Cattle Council.”

Mr Norton said CCA would deliver the project to milestones with key deliverables including:

  • 50-100 beef producers provided governance training specific to the beef industry;
  • 40 percent of current and all future CCA directors to complete a company directors course;
  • A review of CCA’s existing governance systems and professional advice on improvements;
  • Skills-based appointments of the two independent CCA directors by 2019;
  • Communication, media and advocacy training for CCA board and committee members
  • An alumni of 50-70 industry leaders provided leadership and communication training; and
  • Training of a beef specific graduate in strategic policy development.

Mr Norton said the project also provided a mechanism for MLA to use CCA’s consultative committees to inform its research, development, adoption and marketing priorities, bolstering MLA’s nation-wide producer consultation framework.

“CCA is the prescribed industry organisation for the grassfed beef sector within the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997 so it provides a critical forum for MLA to consult and take advice on the services that we deliver for our levy payers,” Mr Norton said.

“This new capacity building project with CCA will help inform MLA’s priorities, while also developing the skills of those committees with governance, communication and advocacy training.”

Training will build capacity of beef industry for future: CCA

In a statement released to Beef Central today Cattle Council of Australia said it was pleased to announce the finalisation of the two-year project agreement with Meat and Livestock Australia to deliver training that will build the capacity of the beef industry for the future.

The statement said the $1.9 million over two years will directly benefit grass-fed producers by giving them access to a variety of workshops, short courses and other training activities. The training will assist in improving industry-wide governance, policy, advocacy and communications capabilities. This, combined with renewed industry engagement strategies, will strengthen decision making and support effective use of producer levies.

“Our Committee and Board members are volunteers. Providing them with opportunities to develop better skills in corporate governance and advocacy is about harnessing their energy to deliver better outcomes for our industry” said Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith.

The new funding extends to provide training and capacity building opportunities up to 50 producers annually and will also support engagement with past committee members and rising champions who continue to contribute to a strong Australian beef industry.

Grassfed cattle producers will be invited to apply for the training opportunities in coming months. Inquiries should be directed to the Cattle Council of Australia at

It is understood that full details of the project will be posted on the MLA website today



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  1. John Michelmore, 16/08/2017

    Secondly when it comes to indentifying cattle producers, MLA fully expect to use the new LPA system to garner the actual information about cattle producers that producers refuse to supply freely to their unrepresentative body Cattle Council (refer Senator Sterle’s statement above) for membership purposes. Quote page 13 from the above document by Mr Norton MLA
    “Through the LPA process we’ll have all your details – who you are, your PIC number, your email address, your phone number – and we can link that to how much levy you pay.”
    You see I think in this process having to agree to the compulsory LPA process (to be able to sell cattle) also negates your privacy. So isn’t this LPA process also a mechanism to provide the membership details and then potential funding to Cattle Council via a mechanism that makes cattle producers members of an organisation they never wanted to be a member of anyway. Like the rest of the structure it is prescribed by and funded via various means from Government Consolidated Revenue that started out as compulsory levies. In many respects its the same as the LPSA process in SA where levies are extracted without consent initially and applications for levy return must be made, otherwise you support your local “representative ‘ body without your consent. Except in federal case one cannot claim their levies back!
    The other problem Mr Norton will encounter is that the PIC does not relate to whom owns and trades the cattle from a property in many cases ie multiple cattle owners/traders on one PIC.
    The easiest way to fix this situation is to add a line to the BAS statement and collect the levy (tax) via the ATO. No other option will work.

  2. John Michelmore, 16/08/2017

    From the Recent Committee Meeting 10th August , page 11, Senator Sterle said ” We know that Cattle Council are not representative of the industry” . My question comes back to the Senate inquiry into CTL levies, and why the Senate does not force change in line with their own recommendations? Surely accepting this ongoing back door funding of the government prescribed Cattle Council without the support of 90% of cattle producers has to be something like Communism and Socialism, not what most Australian cattle producers would accept.

  3. John Gunthorpe, 15/08/2017

    If CCA have any leaders, they will thank MLA for the offer of the funds and decline it. Unfortunately CCA are proving yet again that they are dysfunctional and incapable of representing cattle producers.

    Some of the training is for a review of CCA corporate governance. CCA are conflicted if they accept the funds from MLA. No need for the review if the unelected board members deposit the MLA funds into their bank accounts. I agree with Brad and Joanne – CCA are so far into the mire they do not know right from wrong.

    It is time CCA gave up the reins and allowed a new organisation with producer elected directors to replace them in the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding so the responsibilities under that agreement can be performed for the benefit of all Australian cattle producers.

    I invite all those disaffected with the performance of CCA to come to the Casino Civic Hall next Monday 21st August at 10am to hear about the formation of the Australian Cattle Industry Council and the Australian Cattle Producers Corporation to take up the role forfeited by CCA.

  4. Brad Bellinger, 15/08/2017

    This is absolutely scandalous. The Cattle Council are non representative of beef producers .The reasoning to transfer 1.9m of our cattle tax dollars to CCA is pure scripted rhetoric. MLA which is controlled by multinational beef processors via their feedlot votes and listed pastoral companies now have complete control of Cattle Council.
    How absurd to pay money to make leaders. A good leader articulates the wishes of their constituents.
    I have witnessed 1400 producers at Roma and over 1000 at Armidale publicly almost unanimously denounce the policies of the Cattle Council.
    Barnaby Joyce was given a mandate by the senate to fix the mess that John Anderson made in 98 when he created the undemocratic red meat industry structure but has done absolutely nothing about it.
    Get rid of MLA Barnaby and the parasites that feed of the cattle tax teat.

  5. Joanne Rea, 15/08/2017

    With reference to the Beef Central article of 25th July, 2017 “Sound of grassfed cattle industry reform:crickets chirping”, it should be obvious why the Implementation Committee, which was to come up with a democratically elected grassfed cattle advocacy organization has made limited progress.
    The Committee had a task but with no funds to carry out that task.
    When Cattle Council were negotiating for funds on behalf of the Implementation Committee, they obviously had a conflict of interest.
    It is also clear that some elements of the beef industry do not want democratically elected representatives.
    It is obvious from the article that “democratically elected” is not high on the revamped CCA’s (nor their master MLA’s) list of requirements. The two independent directors, the only hint of democracy so far in CCA, are set to be replaced by skills based appointees. With directors to be doing the company director’s course, they are not planning on anyone being tipped out by the vagaries of democratic election.

  6. Philip Downie, 15/08/2017

    Always have trouble working out which part is the dog and which part is the tail. I get the impression, maybe wrongly that MLA is the tail and CCA is being wagged.

  7. John Wigand, 15/08/2017

    Given these are levy monies, presumably this SLA was put to tender (like all MLA brokered projects should be) in the interests of transparency, and to ensure CCA is the best body to provide this “service”?

    I don’t think the fact they’re a prescribed body should give them a shortcut to $1.9m in levy funds. And that’s before you even get started on the conflict of interest issue…

    It wouldn’t have anything to do with finding ways and means to prop up another fledgling “peak” council, surely?

    We all understand the importance of leadership development and succession, but you could hardly argue CCA has a good record in this area? I thought contracts were meant to be awarded on the basis of merit?

    Meanwhile there’s a myriad of other industry organisations, which specifically work in the leadership space, that live or die by their ability to actually generate value and thus membership income.

    Where’s their tender-free levy handout?

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