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ABA Point to Meat Advisory Cash Void

14 January 2009

AUSTRALIA - Australian Beef Association (ABA) Chairman Brad Bellinger said the current state of the Levy Reserve Fund under the management of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) is showing a substantial loss.

The loss is for the year ended 30th June 2008, therefore RMAC cannot use the current financial crisis as their excuse for the losses, ABA says.

The Levy Reserve Fund has dropped from $51 million in June 2007 to $44.5 million in June 2008, Mr Bellinger explained.

Mr Bellinger continued: "Even while this loss was occurring, disbursements to the Peak Councils increased by over $470,000 of an increase of over 20 per cent. The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) received an additional $187,134 bringing their total payments to $1,001,641 while the Cattle Council Australia (CCA) received an increase of $127,495, bringing their total payments to $682,421."

Mr Bellinger said: "This money was originally collected as levies by the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation (AMLC), the predecessor of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). It was then placed in a fund by the then Primary Industries Minister John Anderson to be managed by RMAC.

"The plan was to keep the Fund intact and fund the Peal Councils from the investment dividends. We now see despite substantial losses in the Fund, the Peak Councils keep asking for more; - further decimating the capital.

"Some of this money also finds its way to the National Farmers Federation (NFF) as the Peak Councils also pay a membership fee to this organisation. With the NFF now contemplating selling its soul to the corporate world and deserting the purpose for its origins, - the Family Farmer, this unaccountable back door flow of family farmer's compulsory levies lacks transparency and is totally unacceptable.

Mr Bellinger said: "I call for a full Senate Inquiry into the structure of the whole of Red Meat Industry, before any further losses in the Levy Reserve Fund occur. The Peak Councils have done little to improve the profitability of the Australian livestock producer and should not be funded by milking the Reserve Fund dry. The assets of levy payers must be protected."

TheCattleSite News Desk



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