DESPITE frustrations at the slow progress, the wheels are indeed turning on efforts to put in place a new model for improved grassfed cattle producer representation.
Since a senate committee recommended, more than two years ago, a new body with directly elected board members was needed, an implementation committee with widespread industry sector membership has been on the job.
However, annoyance that nothing so far has been delivered has now boiled over into plans to ‘go around’ Cattle Council of Australia and form a new peak producer organisation and associated research, development and marketing corporation.
The breakaway plan, led by industry identity and Victorian commercial beef producer John Gunthorpe, would effectively see CCA and Meat and Livestock Australia replaced.
In turn, CCA directors have expressed their own frustrations at the lack of understanding behind moves like this.
CCA was firmly committed to progressing the restructure, directors said.
President Howard Smith said the design of the new representative entity had been agreed upon by numerous beef producer representative bodies in association with the then minister for agriculture, now deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.
The model was based around a direct elect structure drawing elected representatives from 15 regions, facilitating consultation directly from industry and maintaining oversight of levy expenditure by the likes of MLA and Animal Health Australia, he said.
What has held up the process was finding an adequate funding stream, according to Mr Howard.
“The simple fact is the government will not change legislation to directly fund representative bodies,” he said.
“Levies are technically a tax and as such cannot be directed to an advocacy body.
“The government will not agree to all producer levies being funnelled into a new corporation when they already have an established, successful research and development and marketing company for red meat producers,” he said.