Media Release 4th October 2019
Dr Paul Wright Chair of Cattle Producers Australia (CPA) the organisation leading producer representation reform and CPA Implementation Committee Member David Byard led the discussions on the Red Meat MoU White Paper at a ‘Town Hall’ style meeting in Launceston, Tasmania this week.
David Byard who is also Executive Officer of the Australian Beef Association gave an overview of the White Paper and what it means to the grass-fed cattle producers.
Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) Mr Don Mackay was invited to speak at the meeting along with Brett Hall Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) Director and Mr Ian Sauer, Vice President of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, to discuss the current Red Meat MoU Review.
Mr Mackay provided the Launceston meeting with an outline of the RMAC Red Meat MoU Review White Paper proposals and emphasised the need for the red meat industry to have an organisational structure that was ready and able to respond to future challenges and create value for the red meat industry.
Tasmanian cattle producers who attended the Launceston meeting expressed concerns about a number of the White Paper provisions.
Dr Wright told attendees that “the role of CPA is to offer levy payers the option of a democratically elected representative structure to give grass-fed cattle transaction levy payers control over their levies and control over the development of policies impacting their industry.”
He went on to express appreciation to cattle producers who were supportive of CPA and it’s push for a truly representative organisation for producers and said that while there are many complexities inherent in the discussion, the real issue is, in fact, simply a stark choice for levy payers between:
The White Paper proposals which further embed the deeply flawed current structures by delivering all levy funds to the one mega structure ‘Red Meat Australia’ (RMA).
Restructure red meat industry organisations by delivering authority to levy payers.
Dr Wright called on producers to promote the representative structure proposed by CPA which would have all sectors in control of their levies whilst authorising a central body to promote ‘whole of industry’ issues agreed upon by all sectors.
When questioned on the matter, Mr Mackay confirmed that an inherent conflict of commercial interest between the various sectors of the beef supply chain exists on the RMAC Board.
The meeting was left with no answers as to how these commercial tensions would be reconciled on the proposed RMA Board.
Dr Wright welcomed Mr Mackay’s observation that, largely as a result of the 2016 Australian Farm Institute Report, Improving the Sustainability of Red Meat and Livestock Industry Peak Councils, the scope of potential usage of industry levies was being reconsidered.
Mr Mackay expressed his support for CPA’s democratic grass-fed cattle levy payer representative model. He recognised that the lack of an appropriate funding stream was currently a major problem.
During discussions following the meeting producers expressed appreciation for the informative nature of the meeting but many were alarmed at the proposal that the Peak Industry Councils would sit under the over-arching control of RMA and the lack of information as to how appointments to RMA would be undertaken.
Dr Paul Wright
Cattle Producers Australia (Implementation Committee)
“Woongarra” Taroom Qld 4420
Phone 07 4628 6185 Mobile 0438 286 185