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MLA continues to deliver value for red meat producers according to independent review

15 May 2024

An independent review into the performance of Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) between 2020 and 2023 has shown the organisation is committed to delivering outcomes for the red meat industry.  

The Independent Review of MLA Performance 2020-2023, which includes MLA subsidiaries, Integrity Systems Company (ISC) and MLA Donor Company (MDC), was conducted by GHD Pty Ltd in accordance with MLA’s requirements under the Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA) between MLA and the Australian Government. It also includes several recommendations for MLA to implement.  

MLA’s Acting Managing Director, Andrew Ferguson, said it was a pleasing scorecard for MLA, adding that MLA was always looking for ways to improve and innovate with the way it delivers services for the industry. 

“On behalf of the MLA Board and leadership team, I want to thank MLA’s staff for their hard work which has helped deliver a successful result,” Mr Ferguson said. 

“I also want to thank all our industry partners and service providers for our ongoing strong collaborations, and of course the industry levy-payers and government for their ongoing investment. 

“The review, which was independently undertaken by GHD Pty Ltd, has shown that MLA has a strong commitment to operating in line with the five agreed Performance Principles and associated Commonwealth Government Guidelines and Priorities. 

“Average overall satisfaction with MLA has grown from 6.6 to 7 (out of ten) from 2019 to 2023. It also noted that the review into MLA found no instances of non-compliance with the SFA which is fantastic news. 

“The review stated that the recommendations from the 2020 review were fully considered and progress on implementation was publicly communicated, demonstrating MLA’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”  

The key findings against the five Performance Principles are: 

Stakeholder engagement: MLA has demonstrated a commitment to continuously improving its approach to stakeholder engagement through both formal and informal review and feedback processes. 

Research, Development and Marketing: The overall achievement of KPIs across R&D and marketing over the period was >75%, which is consistent with the results in the previous review period, indicating a solid track record of performance. 

Collaboration: MLA collaborates through a mixture of well-established long-term programs as well as individual project opportunities. However, stakeholders in the review cited the increasing need for cross-sectoral collaboration amongst other research development companies (RDCs) across key areas. 

Governance Arrangements: MLA’s governance arrangements were found to be strongly aligned with the eight central principles contained in the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations and the guidelines provided by the Not-for-Profit Governance Principles. 

Monitoring and Evaluation: Through progressive improvements, MLA has made monitoring and evaluation a central function of the organisation, helping to drive accountability and shape the culture of the organisation. 

While MLA made progress on the key recommendations made in its previous review in 2020, this year’s review has provided the opportunity to highlight initiatives for continuous improvement, as well as areas of particular interest to MLA’s key stakeholders. 

These include: 

  • MLA should publish the terms of reference for the consultative and advisory forums it convenes.
  • ISC should continue to provide regular status updates and consult with stakeholders to ensure they remain informed and engaged throughout the delivery of the NLIS Uplift Project. 
  • MLA should continue to work with AMPC and LiveCorp to ensure appropriate oversight of jointly funded programs, including representation on joint funded program steering committees and consultative forums. 
  • MLA should continue its work to establish data collection, collation and reporting for non-economic (environmental and social) impacts in line with the TBL Evaluation Framework. 

Mr Ferguson said the Australian red meat industry and MLA must maintain this culture of compliance and value-driven work. 

“Through transparent communication and collaboration with industry and stakeholders, MLA can continue to ensure that value is delivered for Australian red meat producers,” Mr Ferguson said.  

The full report can be found here