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Senate hearing pays tribute to Graeme Acton

Beef Central, 22/05/2014

Senators and industry representatives yesterday paused during a Senate Inquiry hearing in Rockhampton to pay tribute to leading Australian beef industry figure Graeme Acton, who died on May 9 a week after falling from a horse during a campdrafting event.

Mr Acton, who was one of Australia’s largest private cattle producers and a respected and active industry leader, had been invited to address the inquiry to share his views on industry restructure priorities before his tragic loss.

Queensland Liberal Senator Ian McDonald told yesterday’s audience in the CQ Leagues Club, which was filled with many of Mr Acton’s friends and industry contemporaries, that Mr Acton was an icon in “so many ways”.

“We all meet in this room today in the spirit of a man who did so much for the beef industry in Australia and particularly in this region,” Senator McDonald said.

Senator McDonald noted that Mr Acton’s written submission to the inquiry, lodged on February 27 this year (republished in full below this article), called for a more democratically elected and better funded Cattle Council of Australia to administer the cattle industry of Australia and to keep the industry at the forefront of advancements in market access and marketing.

The Senator said Mr Acton contributed significantly to the Australian cattle industry as a former president of Beef Australia, and also to charity, helping to raise more than $400,000 from his annual Paradise Lagoons Campdraft for various charities including Capricornia Helicopter Rescue and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“I think the committee would like to place on the public record the recognition of a very fine man and a great contributor to the beef cattle industry,” Senator McDonald said, before asking the room to stand and observe a period of silence to recognise Mr Acton’s contribution to the industry and Australia.

Later in the proceedings Mr Acton’s close friend, fellow CQ cattleman Cameron McIntyre, spoke of the driving role Mr Acton had played in helping to initiate the industry-wide restructure process currently underway and which ultimately led to the Senate Inquiry now taking place.

“I would like to recognise the untiring efforts of my good friend Graeme Acton in helping the Australian Meat Producers Group to get to this point in time,” Mr McIntyre told the inquiry.

“He and I travelled a lot of miles together and it was five years ago that we actually started to agitate for change.”

 

Mr Acton’s submission to the inquiry is published below.

Dear Senators,

Firstly let me congratulate the new Federal Agricultural Minister Mr Barnaby Joyce for his prompt action; we

support the inquiry and wholeheartedly welcome the findings.

 

On behalf of Acton Land and Cattle Company I would like to submit the following points for your consideration

  • Currently the Cattle Industry Governing Body is not a democratically elected organisation
  • It is made up of representatives that are appointed from State Farm Organisations and mostly have a parochial view
  • The Cattle Industry Governing Body has insufficient funding to administrate the Cattle Industry of Australia
  • Beef Prices have been at historically low levels for a number of years
  • Over the last 15 years every business, big or small, has seen massive changes in terms of market access and marketing techniques; we as an Industry need to keep abreast of these advancements

Once again thank you for agreeing to conduct this review; we believe that the findings could lead to, amongst other things, the development of a representative restructure.

Yours sincerely,

Graeme Acton,

Managing Director
Acton Land and Cattle Company

 

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