Opinion: Red Meat MoU under review

John Gunthorpe, 05/02/2021


Over the Christmas break an RMAC director explained the Red Meat MoU is currently under review and is due to be completed by June this year.

Now we were aware the MoU was to be reviewed but, the fact it was being conducted without reference to industry members and levy payers and without any public discussion, was concerning.

The Red Meat MoU determines how advocacy, use of levies and service organisations relationships with our six peak councils and the Federal Government are structured.

Roles and responsibilities of parties to the MoU are enacted.

Over the past decade it has been debated relentlessly due to its inability to truly serve the needs of levy payers in the red meat industry.

Following the departure of the chairman and CEO of RMAC with their extravagant White Paper sent to the boundary, it is time for an honest and open debate again about how industry members want their industry representation structured and levies spent.

For grass-fed cattle producers, these issues were all discussed in public hearings across Australia when a Senate Committee enquired into industry structure in 2013.

They arrived at seven recommendations which the then Agriculture Minister said would be implemented.

Minister Joyce set up an Implementation Committee (IC) that worked over several years to enact the Minister’s intentions.

Unfortunately, as members of the IC resigned in frustration, it was dealt a deathly blow when the CCA owners, the State Farming Organisations, voted for CCA to leave the IC.

Funding of a new organisation was unresolved.

Before Christmas, a meeting was held in Brisbane again to discuss restructure of the grass-fed cattle industry.

Importantly, while the Minister missed the meeting, he did have his bureaucrats deliver the messages there would be no democratically elected board in charge of the levies and levies will not be used to fund advocacy.

Our members want to know who is conducting the review, why is it being done without reference to industry members and what are the terms of reference for the review.

Minister Anderson delivered the current MoU last century and was therefore responsible for its obvious failings. He must not be involved in the current review.

Read the Senate Committee recommendations to understand what is needed for grass-fed cattle producers. Processors and live exporters already enjoy these privileges so why not grass-fed cattle producers?

Democratic elections of directors for an advocacy body owned by the levy payers are core. A second organisation to collect and distribute our levies must also be owned by the levy payers and its board democratically elected by its members. There can be no taxation without representation.

John Gunthorpe, Australian Cattle Industry Council


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  1. Michelle Finger, 20/05/2021

    What I am baffled by, is the apparent lack of interest in this issue by individual producers & producer representative organisations. ?

  2. Brad+Bellinger, 05/02/2021

    The National party care more about their donor class. some of whom don’t even live here ,than their constituents. They truly are the inter-National Party.

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