Sterle calls on Joyce to adopt grassfed recommendations

James Nason, 05/02/2015
WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle

WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle

The Senator who chaired last year’s Senate committee inquiry into grassfed cattle levies and structural arrangements has added his weight to calls for agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce to adopt the inquiry’s seven recommendations.

Labor Senator and chair of the Senate Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, Glenn Sterle, said Mr Joyce should adopt the recommendations of the bipartisan committee’s report into the system of levies placed on Australia’s beef industry.

“Mr Joyce needs to listen to the views of the industry and overwhelmingly that is in support of the recommendations of this Senate inquiry report,” Senator Sterle said.

Senator Sterle said that the inquiry uncovered a levy system that was ineffective and poorly managed.

He said growers viewed the levy system as benefiting only small segments of the industry, despite levies being paid by all cattle growers.

“Cattle growers need to feel that the levy system benefits the entire industry and I believe that the recommendations of the inquiry report will go a long way to ensuring that the system is fair and equitable,” Senator Sterle said.

“Barnaby Joyce likes to think of himself as representing rural Australia, but his continued refusal to respond to this report – a report that was back by his Coalition colleagues – leaves cattle growers in limbo.”

“Only by swiftly taking up the recommendations of the report will Mr Joyce ensure that cattle growers will once again have faith in the levy system.”

Senator Sterle’s comments follow the launch of a social media campaign by grassfed grower groups the Australian Beef Association and the Australian Meat Producer’s Group calling for the replacement of peak industry council the Cattle Council of Australia with a new directly elected producer-owned grassfed cattle corporation that would also take over the full management and expenditure of the grassfed cattle levy, which was recommended by the committee.

The Cattle Council of Australia is currently working through restructure options and is due to report back to the minister with preferred restructure model by the middle of this month.





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  1. Scott Fraser, 06/02/2015

    Until red meat farmers learn to pull together and market as one to beat the large buyers sending them slowly and individual broke…… could they run a united industry?

  2. John Michelmore, 06/02/2015

    So Sandy , That Senate Inquiry travelled far and wide and received hundreds of submissions from grass fed cattle producers most calling for an overhaul. Are these the squeaky wheeled minorities, or are these the 90% of cattle breeders/growers that get no say thru the current archaic structure and levy system?
    Senator Sterle and most of the Senators did an excellent job in relation to this inquiry, you could hardly call him uninformed when he spent hours in public meetings etc. etc etc. He did an exceptional job and I congratulate him for it.
    You are correct in your last statement however, marketing levies have no influence over farm gate pricing so why shouldn’t the levy payers be identified and vote on levy quantum , need for a levy and use of the levy (mostly Senate Recommendation 2) and the structure of a new body. Having Cattle Council (whom now represent less than 10% of grass fed cattle producers) come up with a preferred restructure model is putting the cart before the horse when no one knows whom the levy payers are and how much they paid in levies or what their thoughts are on a potential new democratic representative structure for grass fed producers.

  3. Sandy maconochie, 05/02/2015

    Minister Joyce is no fool and won’t be bulldozed from the squeaky wheel minority, despite uninformed comments from Senator Sterle. Since when has any representative body of any industry had any influence over pricing.

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