PRODUCERS driving the establishment of a new grassfed cattle advocacy body are moving forward with plans, signalling an eventual situation where two very strong voices exist.
Despite the shock loss of Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) as part of the process to develop a “new look” producer body with a direct-elected director model, the implementation committee has now incorporated a company limited by guarantee called Cattle Producers of Australia Limited.
The initial working name of the new body was to be Cattle Australia but it turns out that name was recently claimed by other beef industry interests.
CCA, meanwhile, has vowed to continue stronger and better, with reforms in order to meet calls for greater transparency, accountability and more reflective representation.
The implementation committee, set up at the behest of former Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce in 2015 and endorsed by the findings of two senate inquiries, is made up of members of several smaller breakaway producer representative groups that have long agitated about the need for CCA to either be significantly reformed or abolished.
Chair of the implementation committee Paul Wright said the new structure would give all grassfed cattle transaction levy payers the opportunity to both vote for and nominate candidates for the board of the new representative body and all grass fed transaction levy payers would be entitled to nominate for election to the board.
“In the immediate future the implementation committee will convene a facilitated workshop in Brisbane to develop a draft constitution for Cattle Producers Australia which reflects these aims,” he said.
A logo and website for the new organisation is also currently under development and the business and finance plan being finalised.
”Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) was a valued and active participant in the process of establishing Cattle Producers Australia Limited until its recent and regrettable withdrawal from the implementation committee under instruction from state farming organisations and I thank them for their contributions to that process,” Mr Wright said.
The implementation committee also has plans in the pipeline to meet with the government and other relevant stakeholders to discuss the resignation of CCA and the finance plan.
Many beef producers believe the finance plan will be the hurdle.
Indeed, CCA is adamant it still supports the type of producer lobby body this process was advocating – it just believes the best road there is via a restructure of what currently exists.
"The reality is after three years we no longer believed the committee tasked with designing the new structure had the ability to deliver, not because of a lack of will, but because of a lack of long term sustainable funding,” CCA’s chief executive officer Margo Andrae said.