Industry bodies urge new Cabinet to build on track record of trade reform

Beef Central, 19/07/2016

Australia’s red meat and livestock sector has welcomed the appointment of the new Federal Cabinet.

RMAC chairman Ross Keane

RMAC chairman Ross Keane

Red Meat Advisory Council independent chair, Ross Keane, said the continuity of key cabinet positions recognised future drivers for growth.

“When the Australian agrifood sector does well; the economy does well,” he said.

“A prosperous red meat and livestock sector involves a partnership between industry and a whole of government effort and we look forward to working with the new cabinet.”

“As a Ministerial Advisory Council, it’s a great outcome to have the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce remain minister for agriculture and water resources.” Mr Keane said.

RMAC advises the agriculture minister on issues and opportunities affecting the 20-billion-dollar red meat supply chain from ‘paddock to plate.’

“We also welcome minister Steven Ciobo remaining in the trade portfolio, which is crucial to the red meat and livestock sector in unlocking our enormous potential,” he said.

RMAC released the Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP) 2020 in October 2015, identifying $7 billion worth of potential growth for the red meat and livestock sector.

Key government facing issues identified in the MISP 2020 included the need for continuous improvement in policy settings for trade, infrastructure, competition and a reduction in costs and regulation.

Mr Keane highlighted the track record of the Abbott-Turnbull government in growing access to international markets for the Australian red meat and livestock sector through significant reductions in tariffs.

“A key part of achieving our vision for the sector by 2020 is improving our ability to supply international customers – by addressing impediments such as tariffs, quotas and behind the border measures or technical barriers to trade,” he said.

“Trade reform is a key area that governments can deliver – with the recent trifecta of North Asia agreements with Korea, Japan and China potentially generating $20 billion over the next 20 years of additional export value for our sector.”

“We urge the next Cabinet to continue on the previous governments remarkable trade achievements.”

AMIC stress competitiveness, market access

Australian Meat Industry Council chair Lachie Hart said AMIC welcomed the return of the Turnbull government and the political stability that it represented, that the commercial sector has been looking for.


Lachie Hart

“It also allows us to build on the framework of cooperation already established on a range of issues and the familiarity with the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Mr Hart said.

“The meat processing and export sector is now arguably the largest trade exposed manufacturing sector in Australia and continues to be globally competitive despite the high cost nature of the Australian economy”.

”We can continue to remain globally competitive if we work closely with the Federal Government in removing unnecessary cost and duplication and reducing red tape and regulation, and by an ever-increasing emphasis on maintaining our access to key export markets around the world.”

Mr Hart said what were often tabled as technical market access issues could often be just ‘window dressing’ for significant commercial and political factors.

“Technical negotiations in these instances achieve little. We will need to share as partners with Government in the development of technical market access policy and will need to work with Government in negotiating commercially viable, new improved or maintained market access for red meat” Mr Hart said.

“AMIC is keen to increase its investment in building an all of Government and industry approach to market access for what is a major priority for the industry. Better market access results in better returns to the Australian supply chain and ultimately to better returns to the farm gate,” he said.

“We look forward to working closely with the Turnbull Government and in particular Barnaby Joyce as Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Steven Ciobo as Minister for Trade and Investment in seeking to pursue these goals.”

Deliver on funding commitments, CCA urges

Cattle Council of Australia also welcomed the new Federal Cabinet, but has urged the government to deliver on its leadership funding election commitments.

In June the Coalition announced new funding measures for agriculture including $5 million for the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund.

Cattle Council chief executive officer Jed Matz said CCA had called for a funding commitment to help establish a directly elected producer organisation, underpinned by a sustainable funding model.

“Since 2013, the Council has been pushing towards structural change to adequately deliver the advocacy, policy and strategic services the grass fed industry needs,’’ Mr Matz said.

“The commitment of the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund is a step in the right direction in empowering agriculture.

“Cattle Council congratulate the government on its re-election but we urge the government not to forget its commitment to the agriculture and in particular the beef industry.”

The organisation Cattle Council seeks to establish would combine policy development and advocacy, and be led by a board directly elected by cattle levy payers.

Mr Matz said the new model would provide grass-fed producers with more control over the $64 million they pay annually through the compulsory levy.

“The key for the new organisation is the development of a sustainable funding model which would allow the organisation to focus on delivering the best outcomes for grass-fed producers, instead of being impeded by funding concerns.”

“We believe the future of agriculture should be foremost on the governments agenda, and we hope to see further details on the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund soon,” Mr Matz said.


Source: RMAC, CCA




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