New taskforce to steer red meat industry’s sustainability message

Beef Central, 26/05/2014

Combined red meat industry groups have released a joint statement this morning explaining the outcomes of a ‘Square-table’ meeting in Brisbane last Friday.

The meeting, organised by the Nationals, was designed to achieve a consensus position for Australia’s red meat industry on the issue of how to best demonstrate the industry’s sustainability credentials going forward.

The media statement released this morning reads as follows:

The Australian red meat industry will create a new taskforce to develop a framework that can publish and promote our nation’s sustainability credentials to a worldwide audience.

The decision comes after 27 beef industry leaders gathered in Brisbane for the highly publicised ‘Square-table’ meeting on Friday.

The ‘Square-table’ forum saw a gathering of leaders from: Cattle Council of Australia (CCA), Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA), Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC), National Farmers Federation (NFF), AgForce, NSW Farmers
Association, Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA), Animal Medicines Australia (AMA), Hughes Pastoral, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Federal Government.

The meeting was chaired by former AACo Managing Director David Farley.

During the three hour forum, discussion centred on the opportunities that exist for the industry to be proactive in engaging with its customers and the broader community to share information about the industry’s world leading sustainability credentials.

The gathering of Square-table participants was able to meet their collective objectives towards beef sustainability.

There was unanimous acknowledgement that Australian beef’s customers have become increasingly interested with the processes employed across the agriculture supply chain and the sector had a responsibility to respond.

All participants agreed that a national, industry-driven initiative would be the most effective method

All participants agreed that a national, industry-driven initiative would be the most effective method to ensure the sector was able to direct what information is needed to be collated, how it would be presented to customers and how to ensure it remained relevant to the future strategic direction of the red meat industry.

Under the new sustainability strategy, which was conceived and unanimously supported at the ‘Square-table,’ the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) will take responsibility for governing the process.

RMAC is the peak body representing the collective interests of Australia’s red meat and livestock industry.

However, the specifics of the strategy will be steered by a taskforce consisting entirely of industry representatives.

It is expected the development of a sustainability framework that demonstrates the industry’s credentials will be incorporated to the strategic themes of the red meat andlivestock industry’s 4th Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP4), which is due to commence next year, and provides strategic direction for the industry to 2020.

The work to develop the sustainability framework is expected to be funded with existing levy collections from each of the RMAC peak industry body members.

The marketing and research capacities of MLA, as the industry services company, will play a prominent role in the development of the framework.

the taskforce places the control of sharing Australian beef’s sustainability credentials squarely in the hands of industry

RMAC chairman Ross Keane said the creation of the taskforce placed the control and responsibility of sharing Australian beef’s sustainability credentials squarely in the hands of industry.

“As an industry, we need to keep pace – if not stay at the fore of – consumer requirements and community expectations,” Mr Keane said.

“We know customers are taking an interest in our processes and we should respond positively.”

Mr Keane said this industry-led initiative came at an important economic juncture for the beef sector.

“As the resources boom declines, the agriculture sector is strongly on the radar of government,” Mr Keane said.

“The Federal Government is developing a White Paper on Agricultural Competitiveness and another on the development of Northern Australia.

“We see this industry-driven sustainability framework as complimentary to these processes and provides the opportunity for us to engage with the community and be proactive about
demonstrating the benefits of the many world leading systems and practices we have in this country.

“We also believe there is always room for continuous improvement and that will form part of the taskforce’s work.

“We believe the outcomes of this process will be important for the Australian industry in continuing our growth in new and existing markets by demonstrating to our customers that we provide a high quality and sustainable product.”

Mr Keane congratulated all participants in the ‘Square-table’ process.

“This Square-table meeting has shown that our industry bodies are in furious agreement that we must meet and exceed the expectations of our customers,” he said.

“The framework we have committed to developing makes good business sense and with our levy system, it should not create any additional cost for producers.

“The entire beef supply chain should be proud of the work it undertakes every day to provide a world-class, sustainable product to its customers.

“Our industry has a great story to tell and I am looking forward to us sharing it.”


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