Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Managing Director Jason Strong has today noted the latest step in the review of the Red Meat MOU with the release of the White Paper and the significance of the recommendations to the future structure and direction of Australia’s red meat sector.
Mr Strong said MLA welcomed reform that is in the best interests of red meat producers and the wider red meat and livestock industry, and as a signatory to the MOU, would be carefully considering the changes put forward.
“MLA has been actively engaged in the MOU consultation process and has consistently advocated for a revitalised red meat industry that has the systems and structures in place to be ready for the future,” Mr Strong said.
“Given its age, there is consensus across the industry that the current MOU is outdated. It is therefore important that industry structures are reviewed to ensure they help position the industry to succeed in a dynamic and challenging operating environment.
“This changing environment has been a key focus for MLA – in particular how to continue to drive global demand for red meat, build on-farm productivity and deliver value throughout the supply chain.”
Mr Strong said given the White Paper contains wide-ranging recommendations around the future of Australia’s red meat sector and its operations, further review and careful consideration is required from both industry and Government before proceeding to the next step, including endorsement from all nine MOU signatories.
“Importantly, substantive legislative change will be required to implement a number of the reforms identified in the White Paper,” Mr Strong said.
“Given this, it is business as usual for MLA. As the industry’s research, development and marketing service provider, we will continue to deliver our current Strategic Plan and Annual Investment Plan by working alongside red meat producers, Peak Industry Councils, other RDCs, research partners and other stakeholders to ensure investments deliver value.”
MLA will be investing over $270m on behalf of livestock levy payers, processors and live exporters over the next 12 months, including levies, matched research funding from the Federal Government and external commercial investment.
Mr Strong said the focus of MLA’s investment and programs over recent years has been ensuring our industry is focussed and capable of addressing the growing consumer trends around sustainability, health and animal welfare.
“MLA’s investments have also sought to ensure greater collaboration and efficient delivery across the red meat value chain,” Mr Strong said.
“In effectively delivering these programs on behalf of industry, MLA has a strong record of transparency and reporting back to industry and levy-payers. We do this by publishing detailed annual investment plans and annual reports, annual audits and a robust monitoring and evaluation framework across our programs – all of which are also required under our Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth.
“MLA continues to deliver important projects for red meat producers and industry that have a direct impact to their on-farm and industry wide productivity.”
Mr Strong said the next steps for MLA, as an MOU signatory, will be to work closely with industry partners to review and consider the recommendations put forward.
May I inject some reality into the party?
MLA is a company owned by two classes of members. It cannot be wound up without a 75% vote supporting the motion in both Membership classes. As one class is partly funded by MLA, they will never vote for its winding up. The other class includes recipients of large “Commercial and in Confidence” R&D grants. Our largest processors are not members of RMAC but in my opinion, are the real controllers of the industry. They are the biggest beneficiaries of MLA levy money paid by producers. They control over 25% of the MLA member vote. Cattle Council couldn’t muster 10%. The Minister has no power except over Government grants. MLA is impregnable. Armed with advice from Company law barristers and the Shareholders Association I proved that at the Longreach AGM in 2011.
Meat and Livestock Australia is only a service provider. I know the current CEO is only new to the job but surely he must realize that MLA as a service provider should not be involved in the debate nor advocate for a restructure.