WHILE beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat producer levies were up a relatively modest 5 percent last year, total revenue generated by Meat & Livestock Australia was up 35.6pc, due principally to an increase in Government and private contributions.
Those contributions, up 54pc and 81pc respectively, in effect meant that MLA had 64.9pc more to spend on Research and Development in its most recent financial year compared with the previous 12-month cycle.
The result is captured in MLA’s 2017-18 Annual Report released today, in advance of the industry service delivery company’s 2018 annual general meeting in Canberra next month.
The dramatic jump in government and private sector contributions (see table) is thanks largely to the proactive approach to harness a greater share of available funding through the for MLA Donor Company (MDC).
MLA’s 2017-18 Annual Report offers an overview of MLA’s program of work, performance and key financial information for levy-payers and the red meat and livestock industry.
It highlights some of the key achievements across both domestic and international marketing, as well as across significant research and development investment.
MLA managing director Richard Norton said the report was a critical component of MLA’s open and transparent reporting of how MLA is investing levies to foster prosperity in the Australian red meat and livestock industry.
“With many of the Australian red meat and livestock industry’s key supply regions in the grip of drought, 2017–18 has been a challenging year for many of MLA’s stakeholders, particularly many producers,” he said.
“The common theme across MLA’s work has been an ongoing focus on customer-centricity – that is the customer is king and must come first in all that we do.”
“Today, increasing numbers of consumers in our domestic and high-value markets expect that the red meat they buy is produced in a way that aligns with their values. They want to feel good about eating Australian red meat. The fact is, the Australian red meat and livestock industry has a good story and, in the past year, MLA has invested in a range of initiatives to share it.
“The Annual Report gives a comprehensive overview of all our activities during the past financial year,” he said.
MLA’s total investment increased 35.8pc in 2017–18 to $262.2 million. That included $171.8m in R&D and $90.4m in marketing, market access and insights activities.
This uplift in investment is primarily attributable to the MLA Donor Company’s work, which increased investment by $59.3m (158.1pc) to $96.8m and resulted in MLA using almost 99pc of the Government matching funds available in 2017–18.
The 2017-18 report also provides a summary of pillar and priority performance against MLA’s Strategic Plan 2016–2020 and Annual Investment Plan 2017–18, as well as financial performance.
“This information highlights the significant growth in investment in research and development – with the number of research contracts increasing from 458 in 2016–17 to 604 in 2017–18,” Mr Norton said.
“MLA will continue to invest in activities and research that grow demand for red meat and enhance the reputation of our superior beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat,” he said.
This year, the MLA annual report is available for the first time in an easily-accessible online format. The traditional print and pdf versions are still available, for those who prefer them.