Full MLA R&D review report release expected soon

James Nason, 26/09/2013

Meat & Livestock Australia says it expects to release the full report from a recent independent review of its Livestock Production Innovation unit to all industry stakeholders soon.

As initially reported by Beef Central in August, MLA commissioned a panel of six independent experts earlier this year to review its systems for selecting, funding and managing Research and Development projects.

The independent reviewers nominated 11 areas where they believe MLA must change its approach to managing R&D if it is to help generate the technological advances the Australian red meat industry needs to remains viable in the long term (see Beef Central’s August 2 report with the full recommendations here)

The review panel’s final report was handed to MLA in June but has been only formally released to two peak industry councils since that time.

The review panel and MLA management presented the findings to full board meetings of the Cattle Council of Australia and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia in late August.

Another major provider of funding to MLA, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, told Beef Central this week that it has not yet seen a copy of the full report, and is not scheduled to see the full report until its next formal meeting with MLA in November.

The Department of Agriculture told Beef Central that it supported ‘continual efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of investments in research, development and extension’ and welcomed MLA’s initiative to conduct the review.

“The department notes the recommendations of the review as reported by Beef Central, and understands that MLA has a structured approach to discussing them internally, with broader industry and with government,” a DAFF spokeperson said.

“The Department of Agriculture looks forward to receiving a copy of the full report and discussing the recommendations with MLA at the next scheduled meeting.”

Asked why the report had not been widely released to date, MLA managing director Scott Hansen said MLA’s approach was to develop agreed actions on each recommendation with peak industry councils before releasing the report to all stakeholders.

“The plan for releasing a report to stakeholders is for it to be released accompanied by agreed actions for the recommendations,” Mr Hansen said.

“This would inform stakeholders of: a) the areas that have been highlighted for improvement, and b) how we plan to act on this – and in the case of some recommendations, what has already been done.

“Before this can happen it requires discussion with the MLA Board and Peak Councils.  

“This report was always intended to be shared.  The fact it was shared with peak industry councils and government, at their next meeting with us, should highlight this was the intention.” 

Meanwhile MLA said it was continuing to work with the peak councils to form an R&D framework committee, which will meet next month to consider all of the recommendations.

Of the 11 recommendations in the review, MLA said four had already been actioned, because they were either in place prior to the review or have since been actioned with the peak councils; five are being progressed towards the implementation of the recommendation, and two required further consideration by the R&D framework committee in terms of how to progress the recommendations.

MLA is holding a board meeting today at which further action on recommendations is likely to be discussed.A spokeperson said that depending on outcomes from today’s meeting, the full report and recommendations is likely to be released in coming days.


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