Meat Industry Fails Northern Cattlemen

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Meat Industry's self regulation reaches a new low as it lets its northern cattlemen perish, according to the Australian Beef Association (ABA).
calendar icon 28 July 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The ABA Chairman, Brad Bellinger, commented that the failure of RMAC (Red Meat Advisory Council) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to assist Northern levy payers in their hour of need is a disgrace and illustrates the complete failure of self regulation in the red meat industry.

He continued, the levy funded MLA and RMAC got Northern cattlemen into their marketless state with their incompetence in Indonesia.

"Now, with over A$100 million in reserves, they are failing to help with subsidisation of cattle movement south. Its fine for the executives of MLA on over A$300,000 to fly first class around the World but when it comes to helping destitute levy payers their ears are closed," Mr Bellinger said.

Mr Bellinger said that it is unlikely that more than 20 per cent of the normal shipments to Indonesia will take place before the beginning of the wet season. This leaves over 350,000 cattle with nowhere to go as the freight south to good grass will reach A$200 per beast. This makes it uneconomical for producers.

"Arguments that such a move will depress the market are both selfish and inaccurate, an additional four per cent on the national kill figure over some six to 12 months will be irrelevant."

He said that the answer lies in freight subsidy as is used in the South in time of drought. ABA calls on MLA and RMAC to come out of their ivory towers and allocated at least A$40 million toward such a subsidy scheme. They can then approach Government with a straight face and ask for some matching finance.

Mr Bellinger concluded: "The RMAC Reserve Fund holds A$42 million. It was put aside from levy money left after the AMLC/MLRC wind up in 1998. It was meant for an industry emergency. We now have one. RMAC has lived its pointless existence on the interest from the money. It must now be brought to an end and the levy payers reclaim their money."

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