Subscribe to MLA's e-newsletters

Stay informed with the latest red meat and livestock industry news, events, research and marketing.

Sign up
Back to About MLA

MLA agreements

Under MLA’s Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA), MLA must ensure that it spends funds in an open and transparent manner, consistent with its Strategic Plan and other regulatory requirements. To assist with meeting its obligations under its SFA, MLA uses an umbrella research agreement for research and development projects and an umbrella consultancy agreement for research and marketing type services. These agreements set out the terms on which MLA will engage with parties when conducting research projects or providing consultancy services (e.g. marketing) and are updated based on feedback from the industry. The agreements are designed to be balanced and fair and the terms are not for negotiation so that parties can focus on the commercial details rather than the legal terms.

MLA’s umbrella research agreement should be used when a research project is being conducted that MLA is funding, or where funds are being provided by MLA’s Donor Company and matched by the Commonwealth. Under this agreement any IP created will be owned according to the ownership interests set out in the agreement schedule. MLA’s umbrella consultancy agreement should be used if a party is providing services to MLA. Under this agreement MLA will own any IP created.

MLA umbrella research agreement

MLA and its related body corporate (MLA Group) undertake a range of research and development and marketing programs designed to benefit beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat industry participants, from livestock producers to retail service providers. MLA also provides a number of research and development and marketing services to related industry sectors including meat processors and live animal exporters.

MLA is primarily funded by transaction levies paid on livestock sales by producers, which it uses to support research and development activities. The Australian Government also contributes a dollar for each levy dollar MLA invests in eligible research and development under a Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA).

Research is also funded by the MLA Donor Company (MDC), which is a fully-owned subsidiary of Meat & Livestock Australia Limited.

MDC is an investment vehicle which accelerates innovation across the value chain so the Australian red meat and livestock industry can remain competitive on the world stage. It does this by attracting commercial investment from individual enterprises and others that share a mutual interest to co-invest in innovation that will benefit the industry.

In mid-2020, MLA substantially revised its standard research agreements. The revised agreements:

  • set out that in return for funding, the research party agrees to carry out the project in the way they proposed and only use the funds for the project
  • require that the research party comply with certain standards and compliance matters
  • provide MLA with sufficient oversight to ensure that the funds are being used as expected, including reports and records and audit requirements.

In mid-2021, following further consultation, MLA combined its previously separate research agreement and MDC funding and work agreement into a single umbrella research agreement. Once signed the terms live on indefinitely (unless terminated earlier) and a statement of work is prepared for each engagement.  

Where a project is funded by MDC, MLA manages the funding and project compliance much like in an MLA-funded project. The funds provided by MDC, project participants, the matched funds provided by the Commonwealth, and any funds provided by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation Limited) (if applicable), are pooled with MLA at the start of the project and then applied against milestones to the Participant during the course of the project. MLA’s role in managing the project is compensated through deducting a project management fee called a Project Access Fee.

The MLA Umbrella Research Agreement includes terms relevant to both funding arrangements.  Different parts of the Agreement will apply depending on the arrangement for a particular research project.   

View a copy of our MLA Umbrella Research Agreement

MLA Umbrella Consultancy Agreement

MLA’s Umbrella Consultancy Agreement is similar to MLA’s Umbrella Research Agreement with some necessary differences to accommodate for the type of services that MLA would ordinarily engage Consultants for. MLA’s Umbrella Consultancy Agreement was recently updated to ensure it is compliant with the Unfair Contract Terms regime which means the terms are even more balanced and fair. MLA’s Umbrella Consultancy agreement covers specific engagements and more general consultancy engagements. Like all of MLA’s umbrella agreements, once signed the terms live on indefinitely (unless terminated earlier) and a statement of work is prepared for each engagement. The Umbrella Consultancy Agreement includes provisions to allow Meat & Livestock Australia Limited to enter into statements of work for services on behalf of its subsidiaries. The Umbrella Consultancy Agreement covers multiple types of engagements such as:

  • general obligations of a consultant (applies to all consultants);
  • minor IT services (applies only to those consultants providing IT services);
  • market research services (applies only to those consultants providing market research services); and
  • photography, videography and writing services (applies only when these services are provided).

In addition, the agreement now contains more comprehensive terms relating to privacy, data security and intellectual property. The agreement also now covers instances where students are involved in providing services to MLA. Lastly, the agreement also now includes a “go/no go” framework which allows MLA to suspend or terminate the services if a “no go” decision is made.

View a copy of our MLA Umbrella Consultancy Agreement

MLA Umbrella IT Services Agreement

In 2021, MLA introduced an umbrella agreement which covers engagements for major IT projects and services. Like the Umbrella Research Agreement and the Umbrella Consultancy Agreement, once signed the terms of the Umbrella IT Services Agreement continue unless terminated by the parties, and a statement of work is prepared for each specific engagement or project.

The Umbrella IT Services Agreement contains terms which are similar to the IT services terms set out in the Umbrella Consultancy Agreement. However, it is designed to be used for more complex and higher risk IT projects, for example design and development of new systems. As such, it contains more detailed obligations in relation to data security, if relevant to the project and specified in a statement of work:

  • transition-in obligations;
  • a more detailed acceptance test process;
  • service levels;
  • business continuity and disaster recovery obligations; and
  • disengagement services.

The Umbrella IT Services Agreement also contains terms consistent with the Umbrella Consultancy Agreement relating to data security audits, privacy and intellectual property. As with MLA’s other umbrella agreements, the agreement includes a “go/no go” framework which allows MLA to suspend or terminate the services if a “no go” decision is made.

View a copy of our MLA Umbrella IT Services Agreement

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here is a list of FAQ on our Agreements.


For information on the MLA Group’s invoicing requirements, please refer to the following document: Invoicing with MLA Group

Third Party  Agreements

Included is a list of all third parties that MLA entered into research and development and marketing agreements within each financial year.