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TAS Country : February 23rd 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012 Tasmanian Country 15 Opinion Bigger say for producers well overdue CHEWS theFAT David Byard Continued Page 18 EVERY picture tells a thousand words, this is true in the case of the red meat structure. If anybody has tried to interpret the flow chart of the Australian red meat industry and succeeded then they deserve a medal. At present there are five peak councils, the first one being the Cattle Council which tips $60 million per year into Meat and Livestock Australia's coffers. There is no dispute over this as the Australian Government collects and sends it straight through to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). The Cattle Council is now talking about a review, as it sees its role as looking after the interest of cattle producers -- be their political voice and ensure that beef producers get a fair deal from the MLA. The Cattle Council board is made up of representatives from state farming organisations, however, state organisations are finding things tough as they are losing membership and money is tight, as is members' time. The Cattle Council has five employees and works on a shoestring. Sadly, for its part, MLA treats the Cattle Council with contempt and with the current workload, the expectations placed on it by growers and others are unrealistic. The MLA has repeatedly stated it will no longer get involved in politics, and bodies like the Cattle Council should take a bigger share of fronting media and political lobbying. Producers need to remember they pay a $5 levy for each cattle transaction. Sheep producers are represented by the Sheep Meat Council and of course they pay in $30 million. Lot feeders are represented by Australian Lot Feeders Association and it puts $7 million into the MLA and is reputed to be a very strong group which has quite a bit of influence over the MLA. Live exporters are represented by the Australian Livestock Export Company. Retailers and wholesalers, domestic processors and export processors are all represented by AMIC which somehow feeds into Australian Meat Producer Company which then tips $13 million into the MLA's coffers. In contrast to the Cattle Council, the AMPC has $20 million-plus in reserve and is a very strong fighting force. If it wants research done it is not forced to go through the MLA like the producers do. At this point it must be remembered that prior to 1998, when MLA was formed, we had Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation which, when it was wound up, had $40 million of producer funds that were put into an industry reserve fund which helps fund peak councils. Prior to its winding up, the processors paid $60 million a year. At this point one could wonder if the share of the MLA's funding is fair and reasonable. Tome,theMLAismadeupof competing interests as the producers want as much as possible for their stock, the processors and retailers want to pay as little as possible for the same stock. The present situation is unworkable when one looks at the political influence that AMIC and AMPG can exert on governments and others, yet the producers who pay $90 million, by far the greatest amount, towards the MLA have, it seems, the smallest voice. Producers giving the lion's share of the funding to the MLA and having no political voice or serious input is absurd. Inside the latest edition of Electric Farm: The transformation of Tasmania's rural landscape through water. Look whats cooking on King Island, turning abattoir waste into energy. Is green marketing good for business? Plus loads more. Available online at www.auroraenergy.com.au www.auroraener gy.com.au December 2011 The Power of Water inside... 4 Look w hat s cooking on K ing With the advent of the Midlands Water Scheme, we asked water guru Chris Thompson about the state of irrigation in Tasmania and the prosp ec ts for the future.. .Page 2 Is green marketing good for business? 7 Gas-fired roses 8 electricfarm electricfarm
February 16th 2012
March 8th 2012