News

More details on proposed new national cattle producer representative body released

Guest Author, 23/02/2022

More details about proposed changes to national grassfed cattle industry representation have been released this week ahead of a national round of consultation meetings with producers beginning next month.

Following a meeting on February 13 the Grass-fed Cattle Industry Restructure Steering Committee (membership of which is listed below this article) issued a media release yesterday providing the following information:

  • Cattle Australia will be the name of the new national peak body for the grass-fed cattle industry;
  • Cattle Australia will be governed by a Board of Directors and a Policy Advisory Council;
  • The Board of Directors will have nine seats – comprising seven democratically elected Directors who will appoint two skills-based Directors;
  • Directors will determine the Chair;
  • A Policy Advisory Council will comprise 15 directly elected levy paying producers from identified MLA RAC regions and eight State Farm Organisation (SFO) representatives, appointed by their respective SFO, with oversight of an Independent Chair;
  • Producers will have the opportunity to provide comment on the structure as well as key priorities for Cattle Australia, with consultation to commence from March;
  • It is planned that the new peak body will officially launch on 1 July 2022, with Cattle Council of Australia’s responsibilities transitioning to Cattle Australia.

Full media release outlining the arrangements announced yesterday: 

Grass-fed cattle producers are one step closer to seeing a national, unified, and influential voice for the industry, with the name and governance arrangements now agreed for the new peak body set to launch on 1 July 2022.

The Grass-fed Cattle Industry Restructure Steering Committee held a workshop on 13 February 2022, where it was decided that Cattle Australia will be the name of the new entity and that a Board of Directors and a Policy Advisory Council will govern it.

The nine-person Board of Directors will consist of seven democratically elected Directors who will inturn appoint two skills-based Directors. Directors will then elect a Chair.

The Policy Advisory Council will comprise fifteen directly elected levy paying producers from identified Meat & Livestock Australia Regional Advisory Council regions and eight State Farming Organisation (SFO) representatives, appointed by their respective SFO, with oversight of an Independent Chair.

Andrew Macaulay, the Independent Chair of the Steering Committee, said the governance arrangements will allow Cattle Australia to deliver clear leadership and direction for the industry through a more effective model of national producer representation.

“Cattle Australia will build on the important work undertaken by Cattle Council of Australia – the current Australian peak cattle organisation – but with its new governance structure, it will broaden its representative base, to represent the interests of all Australian grass-fed cattle producers,” said Mr Macaulay.

“It will be the national peak industry council, uniting levy payers and engaging with cattle producers and industry stakeholders, so that it can advocate on important matters to the industry, lead and direct policy development and its implementation, and protect the profitability, competitiveness and future of the cattle industry.”

Over recent decades, several developments have triggered system wide change for cattle producers. The Commonwealth Government has also set an objective for the agricultural sector to become a $100 billion industry by 2030.

Mr Macaulay said that Cattle Australia’s structure will support the cattle industry to meet current and future challenges as well as contribute to the Commonwealth’s goal, with producers encouraged to provide feedback as part of consultation activities due to commence in March.

“The grass-fed cattle industry is already a significant contributor to Australian agriculture and employs thousands of people. However, to help the agriculture sector realise the goal of $100 billion by 2030, the grass-fed sector needs to elevate our national policy priorities and advocacy efforts. Cattle Australia will drive this by empowering producers, providing leadership, and creating value in areas where producers cannot succeed by working alone – by working together, we’ll grow together,” said Mr Macaulay.

BACKGROUND

About the Grass-fed Cattle Industry Restructure Steering Committee

Over the last 12 months, considerable work has been undertaken by Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) and Cattle Producers Australia (CPA) to design a strawman proposal and associated process for realising a new peak body for the grass-fed cattle industry.

In September and October 2021, facilitated Industry Leaders Forums (ILF) comprising the recognised national and state level representative, policy and advocacy bodies for cattle producers plus the largest cattle companies in Australia (Represented Groups) were held to gain agreement on the Grass-fed Cattle Industry Restructure Steering Committee structural and funding options to be taken forward through the appointment of a steering committee.

It was agreed at the ILF that a Grass-fed Cattle Industry Restructure Steering Committee (Steering Committee) would be established to guide the process and implement the formation of a new united, well resourced, effective, representative leading peak industry body for grass-fed cattle producers and their industry (Cattle Australia).

The Steering Committee comprises: 2 x Cattle Council of Australia representatives, 2 x Cattle Producers Australia representatives, 2 x Northern Pastoral Group representatives and 2 x State Farming Organisation representatives, with oversight of an Independent Chair, Andrew Macaulay.

Steering Committee Members:

Grass-fed Cattle Industry Restructure Steering Committee Independent Chair: Andrew Macaulay

Cattle Council of Australia: Lloyd Hick, Cattle Council of Australia Vice President

Cattle Council of Australia: Alice Greenup, Cattle Council of Australia Independent Northern Director

Cattle Producers Australia: Paul Wright, Cattle Producers Australia Chair

Cattle Producers Australia: Cameron McIntyre, Cattle Producers Australia Director

Northern Pastoral Group: Mick Hewitt, Hewitt Cattle CEO

Northern Pastoral Group: Troy Setter, Consolidated Pastoral Company CEO

State Farming Organisations: Gillian Fennell, Livestock SA Director

State Farming Organisations: Lisa Sharp, Herefords Australia CEO

Source: Grass-fed Cattle Industry Restructure Steering Committee media release, 22 Feb 2022

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Comments

  1. Val Dyer, 23/02/2022

    Effective and transparent consultation is the key to successfully implementing the proposed ‘Cattle Australia’ lobby/advocacy organisation or it will simply be a rubber stamp to approve the current proposal which seems to be decided already!

    What does ‘consultation’ look like, with the reality being that a list of dates, times and places for each state would need to be distributed asap, otherwise it becomes a whitewash.

    Whilst the Steering Committee outcomes look to be representative, the devil is always in the detail.

    1.
    When will CCA (or the NewCo steering committee ) receive a list of levy payers and their contact details so every levy payer has the opportunity to attend ‘consultation’ sessions.
    2.
    Will levy payers be given an opportunity to vote at MLA on a resolution to distribute a part of the transaction levy to fund the NewCo by way of an opt out option?
    3.
    Will voting entitlements be based on the amount of levies paid? A one producer/ one vote system will not deliver directors or policy members who have substantial skin in the game which would result in very large producer companies pursuing policy influence directly with governments, thus rendering the NewGo ineffective.

    • Rob Atkinson, 28/02/2022

      Hi Val
      I am a member of the CPA Implementation Committee which has been working with the Cattle Council of Australia to design a detailed proposal and associated process for realising a new peak body for the grass-fed cattle industry.
      This is my take on your queries.

      1/.
      I understand that the Restructure Steering Committee appointed by a grass fed cattle producer forum late last year to oversee the installation of Cattle Australia as the new grass fed cattle producer Peak Industry Council to replace the Cattle Council of Australia are working with Minister Littleproud and MLA to try and resolve this important issue so that the Restructure Steering Committee and Cattle Australia can contact every Australian grass fed cattle producer transaction levy payer.

      2/.
      I understand that the Cattle Australia Restructure Steering Committee are working with Minister Littleproud and MLA to try and reach agreement- to distribute a part of the transaction levy to fund ‘Cattle Australia‘ by way of an opt out option

      3/.
      I understand that the Restructure Steering Committee are considering a weighted twin register board election process that will reflect the interests of both large levy payers who have substantial skin in the game and pay considerable sums in transaction levies each year as well as the interests of smaller produces who pay less amounts in levies to ensure that both small and very large producers engage with Cattle Australia thereby ensuring that large companies will not resort to pursuing policy influence directly with governments, thus rendering Cattle Australia ineffective.
      The proposed 15 Regional Policy Advisory electorates while each elect only one Policy Advisory Councillor -so a weighted two register – voting system for Policy Advisory Councilors is not a viable alternative . however, the geographic distribution of the 15 Policy Advisory Council electorate will ensure that about half the elected Policy Advisory Councillors will be elected by large grass-fed cattle producers and half by smaller producers .

      The proposed Cattle Australia structure also allows the 7 elected Cattle Australia board directors to appoint two special qualification skilled directors and the State Farm Organizations will also have- the -ability to appoint a total of 8 additional skilled personnel to the Policy Advisory Council, taking the total Policy Advisory Councilors to 23.

      Hope this helps explain the situation.
      Cheers
      Rob Atkinson

      • Val Dyer, 03/03/2022

        Thanks Rob
        Sincerely hope 1 & 2 are successfully resolved asap.

        3. It would be great to see more detail on that one.

        I appreciate your response and hope others recognise these significant matters.

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