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Comment: LPA changes protecting industry’s future, says CCA president Howard Smith

CCA President Howard Smith, 08/08/2017

AS Australian beef producers it is important to remember that animals in paddocks become meals in homes and restaurants all around the world.

We have an obligation to consumers, here and overseas, to provide assurances around how our cattle are raised, finished, processed and shipped.

CCA president Howard Smith with Australian grainfed beef in the Vietnamese market.

Australian beef producers take food safety issues very seriously. Each one of us must accept our responsibilities to produce our cattle ethically, respecting their welfare and the environment in which they are produced.

As President of the Cattle Council of Australia, I have had the opportunity to observe how important it is that, as a trade-exposed industry, we constantly improve our industry integrity systems and communicate these changes to consumers.

It’s from this that I know we can be proud of our reputation as a country that supplies safe and ethically produced beef to our consumers locally and in over 100 countries around the world.

This reputation hasn’t been won easily. It’s important to acknowledge the hard work of producers and industry in building and participating in programs that have established this reputation. As we have seen time and time again, in an international market as strong as beef, a reputation can be destroyed in an instant.

Some of the past initiatives that have been aimed at providing consumers with assurances around the safety and quality of Australian beef are now pillars of our global brand. At the time, no one could have fully appreciated how important these programs would become. The BTEC program and the prohibition of meat meal as a stockfeed are two of the initiatives that laid the groundwork for where we are today.

If we fail to maintain the standards the world has come to expect of us, we will find ourselves being outcompeted by the US, South America, India and other beef-producing countries, both in international markets and at home. As a predominant meat-exporting, trade-exposed country, we have to remain mindful that other beef supplying countries are ready and willing to replace us in our markets if we slip up.

It’s for these reasons I strongly support the upcoming changes to the Livestock Production Assurance program and understand their necessity.

The reality is the NVD, which continues to serve us well, needs to be enhanced in order to maintain our edge over other beef producing countries in markets around the world and communicate the high production standards widely adopted by our industry.

From 1 October 2017, industry’s new Integrity Systems Company will be introducing genuine improvements to our world-leading systems, through consolidating what we’ve developed over the years. The strengthening of industry integrity programs will require producers to pay a $60 (plus GST) recommitment fee when they renew accreditation, once every three years. This fee is to ensure that the LPA program can maintain and continually improve its communication, compliance and integrity functions.

While the existing paper-based NVD will continue to be available to LPA-accredited producers, an electronic NVD has been developed as an alternative for producers who are able to access online resources. The eNVD will offer a more streamlined method for its completion and it will be integrated with other important forms (like the Cattle Health Declaration for transferring animal-health information).

There will be an animal-welfare component to our LPA registration. This will require that we are familiar with the new animal-welfare standards, or laws, being brought in by each state/territory. These requirements are not onerous and will help ensure industry’s social licence is well defended.

Strong on-farm biosecurity practices, demonstrated through a biosecurity plan that includes managing feral animals, weeds and animal diseases, are fundamental to each of our businesses and vital to the whole of the beef supply chain.

Managing your properties’ risk is as much about ensuring your own financial security as it is about ensuring that of your neighbours.  In such a tight-knit industry, none of us operate separate from each other, and the actions undertaken by the few can so often impact the many.

Ensuring our industry’s biosecurity is up to scratch allows producers to access the best markets for their beef and safeguards all of us into the future.

These changes are imperative to our industry, the community and our consumers, and it is imperative we undertake them together.

 

–  Howard Smith, CCA President

 

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Comments

  1. Rod Dunbar, 10/08/2017

    Biosecurity is just an anachronism of Quarantine; Quarantine is an exclusive power of the Commonwealth at section 51(ix), both domestically and internationally the Commonwealth has the exclusive power; this is the same body politic that appointed CCA as a Public official in 1997.

    If you enforce individual Quarantine on each PIC, which is what CCA is enforcing, and you the individual accept that legal responsibility of a compulsory Contractual transfer under LPA (which is what it is) then when any disease outbreak occurs it will be your responsibility and the Commonwealth will not be subject to section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution in the event of an exotic disease outbreak. CCA has a proven track record here just look at their policy on compensation during BTEC!!

    And all this without Indemnity Insurance under a compulsory LPA.

  2. John Gunthorpe, 10/08/2017

    While I appreciate the exchange above was asked of CCA, the CCA comment does not meet the editorial imposed guidelines first requirement of “real names”. Has the guideline changed and can we now provide comment under our organization name?

    It would be appreciated if the CCA person who penned this response could identify themselves as there are a number of issues on CCA funding that need addressing.

    It was my understanding that the members of CCA – the state farming organizations and associate members ARCBA and AVA – fund the operations of their national subsidiary. Can the writer advise if CCA receive any funds from AHA or MLA and if so what are these payments for? I am sure many cattle producers would appreciate answers to these questions from the scribe for CCA.

    Thank you for your comment, John. Beef Central has no objection to comment being lodged under a legitimate industry organisation title, where appropriate, and by an appropriate source from that organisation. Our insistence on ‘real names’ being used in reader comments is specifically designed to eliminate the prospect of individuals hiding behind false names, in order to make allegations that the author would otherwise not be prepared to make. There is a fundamental difference. Here is some interesting reading on the topic, written by Griffith University senior lecturer in Humanities, Dr Paul Williams. Editor.

  3. Cattle Council of Australia, 09/08/2017

    Thank you for your comment Mr Carpenter. In short, the answer to all three questions is ‘no’. Taking them on one by one:

    Ownership of biosecurity is not held by Cattle Council or any industry or government body. “Biosecurity” is a concept known to an increasing number of people as important to their businesses. It’s about staying alert to any diseases, weeds or pests that, if left unchecked, can seriously reduce the income of businesses. Cattle Council’s role is to look after the interests of grass-fed cattle producers by providing policy advice for biosecurity and other programs.. The Council does this with no funding stream specific to this program or any other programs that benefit the levy payers.

    The templates and modules being introduced under the new LPA and J-BAS systems are yielding no income for Cattle Council. This answer also applies to your third question.

    Kind regards,
    Cattle Council of Australia

  4. Eion John McAllister, 09/08/2017

    No cutting of red tape at this end of the industry, that’s for sure. If it’s the world’s best system then why does it need improving with more red tape for producers. A friend recently attended a workshop re the biosecurity arrangements and saw examples of Biosecurity Plans that were bigger than novels and workshop manuals for vehicles.. The plethora of signs springing up across the district is nothing short of visual pollution. Gate after gate has these on them but no locks or access restrictions to support it. I asked our postie the other day how often they wash their vehicle as it was concerning that they regularly travelled all around the district and were often in contact with weeds that proliferate upon the Regional council’s road reserves. As they are a regular visitor I was wanting to ascertain the level of risk. I was advised to go and commit an act with the nearest sharp object and he accelerated away from our driveway muttering something unintelligble. Maybe I was the first person to ask him this question, or maybe I was the 500th and he was just fed up with it. Don’t know but I suspect that I have an understanding of how he feels. We are informed that this is oh so necessary, yet other countries seem to be able to sell meat and cattle into our traditional customers’ markets whithout their production systems having nothing like our requirements. From my observations it seems that when our prices are higher that they are only too happy to go elsewhere. That seems to be the message they send when the cheque book is put away.
    If my recollection of events with BTEC are correct I understand it was initiated because of the US setting up a requirement for beef imported from Australia to be Brucellosis and TB free. It was explained to me by stock agents at the time that it was something that the US thought that couldn’t be done and would therefore be a defacto barrier for trade rather than accept the competition from efficient Australian Producers. Yes we achieved it at tremendous cost to the nation and the slaughter of huge numbers of animals both stock and feral and domestic pets. When it was achieved the door was guarded by a quota system. It is my understanding that cattle from Mexico, South America and other BT prevalent countries continued to be imported during that time.
    I remain to be convinced that this is the necessity it is portrayed to be.

  5. John Carpenter, 08/08/2017

    Has Mr Smith and the CCA failed to disclose any conflict of interest in this stirring defence of the biosecurity module of the revised LPA?Some very simple yes/no questions for the CCA to answer .Does ownership of the biosecurity belong,or has it ever belonged to the CCA?Does Animal Health Australia or MLA pay or has ever paid any fee or any other amount to the CCA for the use of the biosecurity module or template?Will the CCA receive any income from the implementation of the revised LPA?

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