The Red Meat Advisory Council believes it's closer to finalising its 2030 memorandum of understanding, despite continuing member concerns with some of the recommended changes.
RMAC released the discussion paper on its new MOU in July with recommendations to merge the industry's peak councils, a single standards, or integrity group and a single red meat research group.
While there has, in general, been support for a single standards and single research group, there's resistance to the merging of the peak industry councils.
Last Friday RMAC's member groups met in Brisbane again after meeting a week before in Canberra, to discuss the MoU.
"I'd say we've progressed on some things, and haven't progressed on others," was how RMAC chair Don Mackay described the meeting.
"I think there's a general view that industry can work together better, but there's no commitment for total integration yet."
The sticking point appears to be the recommendation that representative and lobby activities be managed by a single body, to be known as Red Meat Australia.
The Cattle Council has made it clear it won't support any group which doesn't have levy payers providing oversight, and Mr Mackay said there's a strong view that whatever structure's decided on it needs to be led by industry.
"In the white paper there was clear for industry, but it wasn't specific about the role of PICs, so there's some anxiety about that," he said.
Peak council membership
Mr Mackay said for the producer PICs on RMAC there's also the issue that the majority of their constituents won't pay to be a member.
"This has always been the bugbear, that producers feel that they have paid their five dollars levy in the case of cattle, so that is enough," he said.
"The other organisations like the lotfeeders, live exporters and processors have a smaller base, but most or their constituents are members..
"But that's only hundreds of people, not thousands, so it is a challenge."
Mr Mackay said previously any discussions on if levy payments can be used to support representative groups had been problematic.
"But I think we've come a long with the Department of Agriculture on that, and that we can look at working with them and industry to see what's possible there," he said.
RMAC will meet again early in the new year, and Mr Mackay will be sending an update to Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie with an update.
A submission is also being for the federal ag R&D review, which is due by December 20.
RMAC has also expressed a willingness to work with the new mega departments following the merger last week of a number of federal government groups and agencies.
Mr Mackay said they can see the benefits of working with the new bigger departments.
"Now's the time for us to be pushing for the ministers in charge of these all in one departments to work together with organisations like ours and others on cross industry issues," he said.
"Big things like drought policy, energy, infrastructure or staffing.
"I guess we're saying to government 'well you've done this this, so let's see what we can make of it'."