Cattle Council of Australia has decided to postpone the release of its own plan for peak council restructure, in the face of a number of alternate models coming forward in the past four weeks.
Tuesday’s CCA Longreach meeting session covering structural reform was described by some stakeholders as including some ‘vigorous debate’ on the topic, and there were suggestions of an old north/south divide emerging on direction.
Newly elected CCA president Andrew Ogilvie was of the view that it was more circumstance that opinions went north and south, rather than a straight regional demarcation.
Through a task-force, CCA has been working behind the scenes on a restructure model, based on a reduction from 21 members back to 14, and a pro-rata reduction based on cattle population. Task forces would focus on different subject areas, tapping into non-board skills where required.
“While CCA had more or less agreed to its preferred model, some members felt that because there has been a number of independent proposals for structure and funding put forward over the past three weeks, it would now be premature to go forward with this model without further consideration,” Mr Ogilvie said.
“The opinion that prevailed was that CCA should leave its own structural model where it is at the moment – almost completed – instead of tabling it at Thursday’s MLA annual meeting and forum.”
“It was pointed out that we had an opportunity to look further at some of the different proposals coming forward. We might not necessarily adopt their features into CCA’s preferred model, but they should be at least examined, particularly in areas like direct election. It would have been premature to float our own model, when with a little fine-tuning based on other proposals, it could be even better,” Mr Ogilvie said
He said it was CCA’s hope to have something ‘pretty substantial’ in terms of a model for industry to consider in place within three months, but six months might be a more realistic target.
“The key task now is to try to find out how many different opinions and options there are out there, and how widely we need to canvas views. Thursday’s forum will really be the formal start of that process, but it is going to take time.”
“But at the same time, we do not want to reinvent the wheel, and nor do we want to necessarily throw away an existing system which may have components that will continue to play an important part.”
Central Queensland cattlemen Graeme Acton and Cameron McIntyre attended the CCA meetings on Wednesday, as part of a small contingent representing the reform group, the Australian Meat Producers Group.
“We had a good open and frank discussion about the way forward, and we all agreed that there is a great mood for change occurring,” Mr Acton said.
“There are still those who feel that because an organisation or system has been in place for decades and worked reasonably well in the past, it must still be the right model today. We all know that is not the case. Circumstances change,” he said.
“The dynamics of the global beef industry are moving continually, and we need to adjust for that. It has certainly changed enormously since the state farm organisation structure was put in place decades ago, and even since MLA was formed 12 years ago.”
“Anybody who doesn’t think the current industry structure model needs to be looked at closely has their head in the sand,” Mr Acton said.
“We now have a great opportunity to build a new model more reflective of today’s needs.”
- • This morning’s industry forum in Longreach chaired by Red Meat Advisory Council independent chairman Ross Keane is expected to focus heavily on industry structures, funding mechanisms and producer representation. More details later on Beef Central.