Response to grassfed cattle inquiry

17 July 2015

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, provided the Government’s response this week to the findings of the Senate Inquiry into Industry structures and systems governing levies on grassfed cattle which examined the representative and R&D levy arrangements for the grass-fed cattle sector and options to improve transparency, accountability and engagement with levy payers.

Minister Joyce acknowledged that MLA – as the provider of R&D and marketing services to the grassfed cattle industry – can provide a solid basis for the future with greater direction from grass-fed levy payers. Minister Joyce also said the government would continue to allocate the current grassfed levy to MLA.

MLA Managing Director Richard Norton said MLA had already fundamentally changed the way it operated and was improving the way it communicated the benefits of project investment to levy payers.

"We listened carefully, and will continue to listen to our levy payers. MLA has undergone a complete review of the business to become more efficient, more transparent and more accountable for every levy dollar being invested on behalf of the industry.

“We want levy payers to have a greater say than ever before in how their levy is being invested, through improved consultation and greater transparency across the business.

“We will continue to ensure our management of the levy investment is best practice and will continue to listen to cattle, sheepmeat and goat levy payers to ensure we’re delivering what they need, for the best possible future of their industry,” Mr Norton said.

Examples of this include:

  • Efficiency: More than $6.5 million in fixed cost savings have been achieved across MLA in one year, to put back into research and development and marketing.
  • Engagement: 40 face-to-face forums, attended by more than 1,000 producers, have been held around Australia in the past 12 months for producers to speak directly with management and decision makers and provide input.
  • Consultation:  A new regional consultation model is being introduced this year to encourage more producers to have their say on the direction of research and development investment. This is in addition to the consultation with the Peak Industry Councils through the Annual Operating Plan and the Meat Industry Strategic Plan processes.
  • Transparency: The new MLA website was launched in June, providing a clear breakdown of levy streams and key investments.
  • Education: MLA is working to explain its role better to levy payers - particularly that it is not a political organisation,  it has to operate under strict government guidelines and that grassfed cattle levies can only be spent on marketing and R&D activities for grassfed cattle - the same applies for sheep and grainfed cattle.

Information: www.mla.com.au

Read responses from Minister Joyce and MLA

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