Strengthening the future of the grass-fed cattle industry
15 July 2015
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the grass-fed cattle industry would now have increased stability moving forward, with the government tabling its response to the Senate Inquiry today.
“The government has responded to the Senate Inquiry into Industry structures and systems governing levies on grass-fed cattle which was charged with examining the representative and R&D levy arrangements for the sector,” Minister Joyce said.
“My goal in initiating this process has been to see the creation of a viable representative organisation that, without fear or favour, can advocate on behalf of grass-fed beef producers, can oversee levy investment that delivers real and beneficial outcomes to producers and deliver more transparency in how levy dollars are spent.
“I want to thank the industry for its work to date; I appreciate all the stakeholder groups who have come to me, and also to the committee, with their concerns and ideas. We now have a strong desire from all sectors in the industry to see the creation of a directly elected representative organisation, whereby if you can earn the endorsement of your peers within your region or ‘electorate’ then you can represent them on the national level, no matter which group you support.
“If industry continues to work towards developing this new industry representative body, which I hope they do, they really need to consider funding for the long-term. Government will always be willing to work with industry, to find the best outcomes but it is vitally important that new and innovative revenue streams are developed and implemented to ensure long term viability.
“I believe that with increased representation from the grass-fed cattle industry along with the current reforms being enacted at the moment, the current R&D and marketing body—Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), can provide a solid basis for the future with greater direction from grass-fed levy payers.” Minister Joyce said.
In responding to the Senate Inquiry report, Minister Joyce said the government will ensure the terms of reference for the 2015 independent performance review of MLA examine options to improve transparency, accountability and engagement with levy-payers. Research and Development Corporations within the red meat sector need to vastly improve the manner in which the benefits of projects invested in are communicated to levy payers.
“Similarly there needs to be a much greater focus on the application and extension of these projects so that people can touch and taste the benefits."