In this opinion article the United Stockowners Australia, a group that says it represents independent and non-aligned livestock owners, outlines its view on the current Cattle Council of Australia restructure process.
In response to the recent articles by Cattle Council of Australia in relation to funding, it must be highlighted that the funding options continue to take a front seat in the grass fed cattle producer restructure debate.
Indeed, having CCA as overseeing MLA, being paid for services by MLA, being prescribed and under government direction, and representing grass fed livestock producers would make the "industry" a bigger farce than it is now. Surely equitable structural modification comes first, along with non conflicted responsibilities.
Some months ago United Stockowners of Australia formulated a proposal for restructure to return equity to grass fed producers and a summary is presented below. This option is the only option to date that returns democracy to grass fed producers.
• Identification of Grass Fed Cattle Producers and more generally, Livestock Producers; with levies paid and voting entitlements, all held on a secure data base.
Under the current regime transaction levies are collected by intermediaries and transferred to the Levies Collection Unit, however no ordinary grass fed producer identification is recorded for the purposes of formal identification; and voting rights are calculated by the levy payer.
We proposed that a National Livestock Producer Register be created, mirrored on the National Grower Register (NGR) currently in operation for all grain producer Trading Entity’s transactions.
• Establishment of a Privatised Corporation limited by Shares for expenditure in Promotional and of an R & D ‘Tendering’ process of a Grass Fed Cattle Levy.
We propose that grass fed cattle and their producers be removed from the relevant existing legislative, regulative structural arrangements, and retired from the related industry entities.
The new Corporate Body Limited by Shares be adopted and as mirrored in operation to that of the Wool Services Privatisation Act 2000 (C’wth).
A ‘Board of Directors’ should be ‘Directly’ elected by the ‘Shareholders’ following transitional provisions and on the first return date consistent with, and as observed in, the establishment of Australian Wool Innovation limited.
The Board of Directors are to made up in equal numbers representing ‘Northern grass fed cattle producers’ and ‘Southern grass fed cattle producers’.
• Funding of the new privatised Grass Fed Cattle Services Corporation.
We propose that a new “Schedule” of Levy be introduced within the Act titled the “Grass Fed Cattle Transaction” levy for the purposes of funding the new privatised Grass Fed Cattle Services Corporation.
At the first return date and every three (3) years thereafter the Shareholders will be given the opportunity, by way of ballot, to fix the rate of levy based on a sliding scale commencing at an option of zero dollars ($0.00) per head of grass fed cattle transacted to maximum of “X” dollars per head of grass fed cattle transacted.
• Peak National Body(s) for advocacy, advancement and oversight.
We propose that the Minister may declare one or more bodies to be “Peak National Body(s)” to oversight the affairs of the new privatised Grass Fed Cattle Services Corporation in the expenditure of what is essentially a “Tax” for and on behalf of the Government. For this oversight role the existing Net Industry Reserve Fund, subject to legal constraints, can be used to fund the Peak National Body.
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