Media Release 22 February 2019
Cattle Producers Australia (CPA) Chair Dr Paul Wright is calling on producers to carefully consider the Green Paper recently released by the Red Meat MoU Review Task Force and to formally submit their preferences to the Task Force Review Committee (See link to RMAC MOU Review- Terms of Reference).
The Green Paper acknowledges that there is a broad appetite for change to the current Red Meat organisational structures and that there is widespread concern and uncertainty about the role of RMAC and a perception that some Peak Industry Councils have been unable to hold their service providers to account in accord with their responsibilities under the MoU.
There are also repeated suggestions in the Green Paper that consideration be given to the application of the Red Meat Industry Fund to assist the reform structures.
Dr Wright said, “the red meat industries – cattle, sheep and goats – are separate industries. They are managed separately on properties, they are processed separately and the red meat products of each are marketed separately. Each competes for consumer preference, all of which provides a compelling case for separate funding and function jurisdiction of these red meat industry sectors. This self-determination certainly does not rule out the ability of the sectors to act together on common issues.”
“It appears that option four in the Green Paper would be RMAC under a new name, Food Protein Australia, with all red meat sectors commanded by a single apex unit, apparently headed by a so called, skills-based board appointed in an undisclosed manner. This top-down structure would entrench the faults of the MoU and extend the current disempowerment of levy-paying cattle producers. Recognition of the need for a truly representative sector Peak Industry Council was the fundamental reason for the establishment of Cattle Producers Australia and CPA will be arguing strongly that a bottom-up structure with respect to advocacy and control and direction of levy expenditure will best meet the needs of Australia’s cattle producers”, he said.
CPA recognises and supports the concept of unified progression of beef industry supply chain common issues referred to as a ‘white list’ in the Green Paper, however such an important aspiration for the whole beef supply chain will be unattainable while cattle producer levy payers remain unrepresented yet continue to contribute the bulk of industry funding.
Dr Wright said, “The cattle industry must aspire to having a highly productive national cattle herd which meets the supply requirements necessary for customer approval and consumer preference of beef and beef derived products. That solid basis will support the profitability of cattle producers, lot feeders, live cattle exporters, processors and indeed all sectors of the beef supply chain”.
Australia’s 70,000 or more cattle producers are a ‘lost legion’ of levy payers who contribute most to industry funds from which end product marketing is supported and industry research is funded. “The lost legion of levy payers has no control over the development of cattle industry policy or the expenditure of cattle industry derived levies. There is no effective communication on their behalf. This is because they are disempowered under the current MoU arrangements,” Dr Wright said.
The CPA Submission to the MoU Task Force Review sets out a structure which would serve the industry well. CPA will respond to the Green Paper with a submission which sets out a further option for a logical strategy to underpin the future of our industry.
Dr Wright says, “this is a turning point in the red meat industry and that it is vital cattle producers claim their space in the MoU and have strong representation into the future. We encourage producers to write a submission to the Green Paper and if cattle producers wish to gather further information about CPA’s preferred option for change, they can go to our website”.
CPA endorses the recommendations of two Senate Inquiries and the ACCC Cattle and Beef Market Study into issues relevant to structures, systems, competition and transparency impacting upon grass-fed cattle transaction levy payers. These reports concluded that the present systems and structures do not adequately or appropriately represent the interests of cattle producers and that fundamental changes must be made.
Submissions must be in by 5 pm 14 March 2019
Send submissions to RMAC email address: redmeatMOU@rmac.com.au
Dr Paul Wright
Cattle Producers Australia (Implementation Committee)
“Woongarra” Taroom Qld 4420
Phone 07 4628 6185 Mobile 0438 286 185
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