Update on MLA’s internal restructure likely at tomorrow’s AGM

Jon Condon, 12/11/2014

mlablockw-namergbPROGRESS on Meat & Livestock Australia’s internal restructure will come into focus during tomorrow’s MLA annual general meeting and producer forum being held in Sydney.

MLA holds its AGM from 2pm tomorrow at The Concourse, 409 Victoria Avenue, in the inner Sydney suburb of Chatswood.

As announced in August, managing director Richard Norton has taken a hard-nosed but pragmatic approach to the service delivery company’s looming funding shortfall, driven by the inevitable decline in slaughter numbers and consequent levy stream from next year.

MLA’s mid-year projections document forecast that total adult cattle slaughter next year will fall by almost one million head, from 8.3 million this year to around 7.4 million. Further, the slaughter number is predicted to stay low, not going past eight million cattle again until at least 2021.

All that puts a huge dent in MLA’s potential revenue stream from 2015, and Mr Norton has taken decisive action to ‘cut MLA’s cloth’ to fit the circumstances.

As part of the body’s internal efficiency and effectiveness review, the service delivery company aims to shed off 10 percent of its fixed costs across the business, representing $6 million over the next 12 months. A considerable portion of that is coming via staff redundancies, with close to 30 senior, middle and lower management and operational staff having since left the company.

Tomorrow’s AGM will include receiving MLA’s financial statements, plus the chairman’s and managing director’s reports and audit report for the year ended 30 June.

Levy payer members will have the opportunity to vote on the election of three directors to the MLA board; the election of three producer representatives to the MLA selection committee; and two resolutions proposed by MLA to amend its constitution.

The first of these is to reduce the number of MLA directors on the selection committee, to remove their voting rights and for the selection committee to choose its own chair to conduct proceedings of the committee. The second resolution proposed by MLA is to add another grassfed cattle levy representative to the selection committee.

There were no member-driven resolutions lodged by the deadline for this year’s AGM.

Voting entitlement and proxy voting options have now closed.

The three board director nominees to be voted on tomorrow are incumbent, Geoff Maynard who is seeking re-election for a second three-year term, and two new nominees, Alan Beckett and Chris Mirams.

Mr Beckett would bring extensive business experience to the board, along with general finance, accounting and governance expertise together with practical experience in doing business in Oceania, South East Asia, Japan and India.

Mr Mirams is an agricultural consultant based in Albury and has extensive commercial and practical experience in Southern Australian sheep meat production and managing sheep enterprises covering prime lamb, wool and meat with the latest technology and benchmarking.

The two new MLA Board director nominees were chosen by the nine-person industry Selection Committee from a field of more than 100 candidates based on the skills and experience that the committee was seeking.

Preceding the MLA annual meeting at 2pm will be a Red Meat Advisory Council-hosted forum starting at 8am, allowing producers and other stakeholders to discuss with and interrogate peak council members over important issues impacting livestock and the broader industry.

This will be followed at 11am by an MLA-hosted producer forum, providing stakeholders with opportunity to quiz senior program managers and MLA managing director Richard Norton over operational matters.

Speakers will include Dr Alex Ball, MLA Program Manager Eating Quality R&D, providing an update on Meat Standards Australia; Michael Edmonds, general manager marketing, providing an update on MLA marketing work both within Australia and overseas; and Andrew Simpson, Southeast Asia/China regional manager, presenting an update on the China market for beef and sheepmeat, and latest live export prospects.

  • Beef Central will provide extensive coverage as the day unfolds tomorrow.





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