Cattle Council calls for commitment on sustainably funded producer body
6 June 2016
Cattle Council of Australia has called on the major political parties for an election commitment of seed funding to establish a directly elected producer organisation underpinned by a sustainable funding model.
Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith said a new cattle producer organisation would combine policy setting, policy delivery and advocacy, and be led by a board directly elected by cattle levy payers.
Mr Smith said such an organisation represented a long-term solution for the grass-fed cattle industry.
“Grass-fed beef producers need to have control and oversight of the $64 million they pay annually through the compulsory levy.
“For this new organisation to be effective, it needs to be focused on the strategic direction of the industry and overseeing the expenditure of the grass-fed levy and cannot be hindered by funding issues,’’ he said.
“We are seeking a commitment, of at least $4 million, from both the major parties to work with industry to fund the implementation of the directly elected producer organisation.’’
Implementation can only be progressed with government cooperation to develop sustainable funding streams for the new organisation.
Since 2013, the Council has been pushing towards structural change, including a sustainable funding model, to adequately deliver the advocacy, policy and strategic services the grass-fed industry needs.
The Government rejected recommendations from a Senate inquiry into the structures and systems governing grass-fed levies to allow the new organisation to use some of the compulsory cattle levies, citing administrative duplication and increased regulation.
The government indicated it would consider proposals from industry for new funding arrangements with a preference for non-government sources and provision of member services.
All industry groups are united on the new structure with Cattle Council fully committed to implementation.
Mr Smith said adequate funding would allow a new corporation to engage in well-researched policy development to identify the challenges facing grass-fed cattle producers.
He said the need to strengthen the representation of, and service to, the grass-fed cattle sector was fundamental to achieving greater accountability to levy payers.
Mr Smith said the issue had consumed vast industry resources over the past three years.
“A large amount of industry resources have been lost and it is essential the new government commits to working with industry to find a long-term solution,’’ he said.
“Ultimately what is required is Government and Industry working together to implement a sustainable funding system that delivers activities that enhance the position of cattle producers.’’