New Government to Restructure Meat Industry

AUSTRALIA - Australian Beef Association Chairman Brad Bellinger said today, After a decade of inadequate performance by various taxpayer funded Red Meat Industry bodies and in particular Meat and Livestock Australia, the new Rudd Government has a timely opportunity to review these undemocratic structures and deliver tangible benefits to the producers who fund them.
calendar icon 5 December 2007
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Despite producers injecting over $98 million annually in levies to MLA, (an increase of $16 million from last year), saleyard prices have dropped and the producers' share of the consumer dollar continues to be eroded.

Mr Bellinger continued, 'Australian producers are only receiving 50% of the price that US producers are receiving and currently Brazilian producers are getting the same price as our producers, with only a third of our production costs. Both competitors are now taking our market share.

In the meantime, the MLA sits flat footed, as they admitted at their recent AGM that it cannot directly increase producer returns. However the MLA continues to expound the fallacious virtues of regulatory cost burdens they have endorsed after being put forward by partially tax payer funded and inept Peak Councils. It is these questionable funding arrangements facilitated by the previous Government through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that needs to be stopped.

Mr Bellinger said, 'It is these regulatory burdens such as the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) and Livestock Production Assurance /National Vendor Declaration (LPA/NVD) plus the compulsory levy that are costing producers out of the industry. Our competitors are not burdened with these schemes; - their so called benefits to producers are yet quantified.

'The ABA welcomes a policy of deregulation in rural industries and hopes that the new Rudd Government can clean up the bureaucratic mess in the Red Meat Industry inherited from the previous Government. The Red Meat Industry has suffered from the outgoing Coalition Government, which continued to take inept advice from the Peak Councils that undemocratically 'administer' our Red Meat Industry', Mr Bellinger explained.

"We congratulate the new Minister for Agriculture Tony Burke on his appointment by Prime Minister Rudd and we look forward to working with him to establish an effective restructure that our industry so desperately needs, to enable us to compete on the global market'.

'The ABA makes an unreserved offer to aid the new Government in any way it can, to help review and modify the existing structure to provide benefits to beef producers, so they can have a more profitable future,' Mr Bellinger stated.

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