11 October 2019

Cattle Producers Australia (CPA) met with the Board of Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) and proposed that in the interests of cattle producer transaction levy payers, we seek a unified position to guarantee cattle producers have a say in their industry and gain some control over levy expenditure.

Dr Wright said that Peak Industry Council funding had been a sticking point in delivering real outcomes and was a cause in CCA walking away from the agreed Implementation Process to transition to a new representative Peak Industry Council back in January 2018.

CPA advised the meeting that CPA have identified some funding models which could deliver appropriate funding required to establish a new well-funded truly democratic organisation.

The meeting discussed another impediment to the reform process arising from the industry’s apparent inability to identify levy payers.

The Primary Industries Levy and Charges Collection Bill was amended in 2016 enabling Peak Industry Councils to seek approval from the Department of Agriculture to access transaction levy payer details for voting purposes. Although there will be a process to follow, CPA is of the view that this issue should not be an impediment and that all parties should discuss this matter urgently with the Department.

Dr Wright said that “the Innovact Consulting Report attached to the CCA submission to the 2013/14 Senate Inquiry into grass-fed Cattle levy funded structures and systems conceded that as a consequence of the falling SFO membership and the convoluted SFO structures, CCA no longer truly represented Australia’s grass-fed cattle producers. Following the publication of the 2013/14 Senate Inquiry Recommendations, CCA joined with other grass-fed cattle bodies in an Implementation Committee to establish a new representative body to replace CCA as the grass-fed cattle producer Peak Industry Council.”

Dr Wright went on to say that “a series of comprehensive studies of representative structures for agricultural and other industries have concluded that the success of representation hinges on there being a direct, efficient and user friendly interface between the membership and their decision making representatives and that membership eligibility criteria be inclusive and non-discriminatory in voting entitlement. This has been analysed and reported upon across a wide spectrum of agricultural industry representative organisations globally. 

Although President of CCA Mr Tony Hegarty indicated that there may have been some growth in SFO membership in recent times, the fact remains that the fundamental premise of the 2012 report by Innovact Consulting commissioned by CCA is still correct as evidenced by the fact that CCA, since they walked away from the Implementation Committee in January 2018, has continued to work on the development of a new structure to make CCA more representative. 

Dr Wright noted that even though the CPA Constitution meticulously reflects the February 2015 agreement reached by a comprehensive range of cattle industry representative organisations, including CCA, and encapsulates a directly elected, regionally based grass-fed cattle representative structure, CPA is prepared to consider options for SFO formal interaction to bolster regional representation. 

It is a CPA constitutional requirement that the regional boundaries be reviewed, provided that those amendments could be shown to be in the best interests of Australia’s grass-fed cattle producers.

CPA proposed that CPA and CCA establish a joint working group to:

  1. Further investigate funding opportunities identified for the new representative grass-fed cattle producer Peak Industry Council; and
  2. Facilitate a transition to a truly representative cattle producer Peak Industry structure.

In the interests of cattle producer levy payers, CPA urges the Cattle Council of Australia to agree to and act upon these proposals.

Dr Paul Wright
Cattle Producers Australia (Implementation Committee)
“Woongarra” Taroom  Qld  4420
Phone 07 4628 6185 Mobile 0438 286 185

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