NTCA calls for extra cattle levy to counter animal activists

Beef Central, 29/03/2019


THE Northern Territory Cattlemens Association has called for an additional cattle levy to be raised to counter the rising challenge of animal activists.

Delivering his president’s address at this morning’s annual NTCA conference, president Chris Nott urged his members to “support a motion for an additional 50c levy for Cattle Council of Australia or a like body to maximise our resources for industry advocacy and education.”

All four branches of the NTCA voted to support a levy-raising to fight animal activist activity.

“All around us there are threats and opportunities, some closer to direct impact than others, all of them with the potential to enhance and threaten our industry investments,” Mr Nott told the annual conference this morning.

“What is more difficult to address is the diversity of these threats. Some like global protein competition come with a world made smaller by free trade. Others like the nuances of those same free trade markets, can undo certainty,” he said.

“So too, can the fear of irrational government interventions. We know ourselves less than eight years ago the intervention of government in our industry banning live export was dramatic and with substantial consequences. We now see that same intervention with the live export of sheep,” Mr Nott said.

“The existence of the entire live export trade could be gone at the stroke of a politician’s pen. What industry in Australia faces such a threat – fuelled by well-resourced animal activists whose primary modus operandi is to undermine the very existence of an industry that has existed since time itself.”

“It is why we at the NTCA have a motion this year calling on Meat & Livestock Australia to spend some money on selling the message of what we (members of the cattle industry) do, and how well we do it, through advertising and advertorials,” he said.

NTCA president Chris Nott addresses this morning’s conference

Mr Nott said he would much rather see a billboard at Sydney Airport showing an Indonesian child “hoeing-into the protein of Australian beef” than the misrepresentation and misinformation being circulated about how cattle producers treated their animals.

“It has been said before, but there are few more honourable industries than ours. Generating food for others to eat must surely rank high. But these days the threats come from many different directions.”

“It is why having a strong State Farming Organisation like the NTCA and a single voice is so critical. We can all have the policy debates and the differing opinions inside the tent, but at least being inside the tent you can make change,” he said.

“If you are outside the tent, then you are a single voice – and as you can see by the challenges that lie ahead, the fight is that much harder.”

Having strong state and national representative bodies was critical, Mr Nott said.

He acknowledged the presence in the audience this morning of National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simpson, saying NFF was doing a good job raising the profile of agriculture and bringing the issues to the forefront.

“However, Ms Simpson’s position is entirely voluntary, and we need to pay for good people and fund good support structures for our national organisations to be successful, and get our message across to everyday Australians.”

Mr Nott urged his members to support, as the NTCA executive had supported, a motion for a 50c levy for Cattle Council of Australia or a like body to maximise our resources for advocacy and education.

“Our industry is worth $11 billion and to attract executives of significant quality, we need to offer remuneration in line with the task,” he said.

“My question for the audience in the room is: Do producers support a mechanism for collecting approximately 50c per beast, on top of cattle transaction levy, to fund a body that represents grass fed producers whether that remains CCA or something else? There would be an opt-out option,” he said.

“We need this added representation because politically the North is left wanting. There are just one million people located above the Tropic of Capricorn, for nine House of Representatives seats. In the Territory we have just two Senators and two federal seats. Getting our voice heard in Northern Australia is that much harder, with such a small population – despite the fact that across from northern WA to Queensland, the region collectively produces 11.7 percent of Australia’s GDP.”

“We need loud voices,” he said.

  • Beef Central’s James Nason is at the NTCA conference, and will file more reports in coming days


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  1. Valmai Jones, 31/03/2019

    So why do we have to pay for the same rights as every other Australian has? It seems the ntca needs to take a breath, and reconsider, lobby the government for better trespassing laws and the right to farm, don’t go logging us with more costs. Charging graziers more money for rights that should be standard law is just money grabbing

  2. William Haviland, 31/03/2019

    More than ever our industry representation needs to work together and ‘shout’ out with one voice. A well organised media campaign that gets politicians involved on all levels. I definitely agree that the levy’s already collected from the cattle industry should fund this fight. We need to foster and grow the patriotism of our city cousins towards Aussie farmers. We’re depicted as ‘slow talking – fly swatting – old codgers’ in worn out hats. Some of that may be true but for the majority, our farms are managed by passionate men & women who implement the high standards of today’s agriculture.

  3. Brad Bellinger, 30/03/2019

    Well said John Gunthorpe.

  4. Tom Campbell, 29/03/2019

    What about taking 50c out of the levy we already pay towards a biosecurity fund to go towards cost of a quarantine (BJD) ticks in clean country or the like
    Tom campbell

  5. Colin Luckins, 29/03/2019

    NTCA, ALFA, MLA, they all need to start dispelling the myths and hype about their industries along with other groups like cotton and dairy. With the city- country divide growing and anti farming sentiment growing in the middle, a good media blitz showing what it’s all about with real life facts, especially for relatively new and unknown industries like lot feeding, so the public are informed by facts not some groups personal beliefs photo shopped into hideous mis representations.

    From my own experience in the lot feeding industry, educating people on how the industry works like HGP’s and medications, how consumer safety is of the highest priority and how the welfare of the cattle is usually of a higher standard than that set by the government and the RSPCA you would cement the positive impressions of the public while taking away the myths these groups use to hurt hard working industries.

    Hit the tough topics hard and straight with honesty and truth along with issues facing farmers like water, drought and the costs of production so people in the city can reconnect with their food providers and what’s happening in their own backyard.

  6. Paul Franks, 29/03/2019

    It is unfortunate our food producers as a group cannot just go on strike and starve the nation for a week or two.

    But I just realised it would not work, as all food comes from the supermarket.

  7. John Gunthorpe, 29/03/2019

    There should no increase to the grass-fed cattle levy. In fact there should be a reduction to $3.50 to remove some of the waste happening at MLA and their subsidiaries such as Integrity Systems. J-BAS, biosecurity plans, LPA re-accreditation and DEXA funding are some examples of this waste. NTCA need to pitch to MLA for support to counter animal activists within the current funding model. We fully support this approach providing it meets the marketing of red meat test under the current Red Meat MoU.
    Australian Cattle Industry Council

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