OZ: ABA Makes Noise Over MLA Silence

AUSTRALIA - Australian Beef Association (ABA) Chairman, Brad Bellinger has questioned why the the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said nothing on the inquiry into Supermarket dominance of Australian retailing Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), the producer funded meat industry body.
calendar icon 16 April 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Whilst the media across Australia featured the ABA submission to the ACCC Inquiry, Rural Press followed the MLA line by publishing virtually nothing, the ABA say.

Mr Bellinger said, The NFF submission to the ACCC is a featherweight one reflecting the long, close association between senior NFF officials and supermarket chiefs.

ABA presented a very detailed submission, which showed that the US consumer is paying about half what the Australian consumer is paying for his/her meat, yet the Australian producer is presently getting 25-40% less than the US producer - with no subsidies involved. ABA research into the UK and Irish margins also have highlighted that both the Australian producer and consumer are being rorted.

He continued, MLA uses millions of dollars of producer levy money to advertise meat for supermarkets. MLA annually justifies these large levies ($5 per beast sold) by pointing out their consultant's figures showing increased expenditure on meat.'

The producer is a three time loser -he gets less for his cattle each year, he pays the large levy (plus much more for the new ear tag system) and then has to pay more for his beef at a retail outlet.'

Mr Bellinger continued, ' ABA welcomes the announcement of a Senate Inquiry into the Meat industry. The last inquiry in 2002, made eight recommendations including to make the so-called Peak Councils more accountable but the National Party Ministers refused to implement any of them. Now the Senate is trying again.

ABA will make a detailed submission but believes that the Australian producer share of the consumer dollar has got so serious that only a Royal Commission can get to the bottom of the massive rip off.

'ABA is calling for a Royal Commission with powers as broad as the last one, conducted by Judge Woodward in 1982', Mr Bellinger recommended.

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