ABA’s Plan For “After MLA”

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Beef Association (ABA) states that following Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) formation in 1997, there have been dramatic changes to the industry. The ABA states that this has led to duplication of work in Promotion and R&D and it is therefore time for a review of MLA and its functions.
calendar icon 3 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

No alternate structure that involves a compulsory levy can be created without Government legislation- work that was done in with re-structures in 1936, 1977, and 1997. ABA thinks that there is now some common ground on what is not needed and what is needed.

Analysing what it believes MLA does not need to perform, ABA lists:

  • Export and Domestic Promotion

The ten year evolution to dominance by multinational processors with offices all over the world has removed the need for producer funded marketing of processor owned product on the export market.

ABA states that the evolution to dominance by the Supermarket duopoly makes producer funding of supermarket owned product with huge “mark ups “obscene. The constant fall in consumption since MLA’s formation illustrates that its promotion has been a waste of money.

Around A$60 Million was set aside for “Growing Demand” by MLA last year. ABA thinks this was an expensive duplication of work by the above private enterprise giants.

  • Research and Development.

ABA thinks that putting R&D under MLA in 1997 was a big mistake. The Productivity Commission has highlighted the very poor accountability and huge waste of producer/ processor money. Around $75 million was listed last year.

The former specialist Meat Research Corporation ran a very accountable R&D programme. ABA recommends a return to a lean staffed, five member boards, Meat Research Corporation.

What ABA thinks is needed by the industry:

  1. Meat Research.
  2. Market Reporting and statistics.
  3. Beef grading to the consumer.
  4. Trade negotiation.

In order to preform the above, ABA suggests that the following bodies should take over.

A Meat Research Corporation - An Australian Meat Board

With sections to perform:

  • Market Reporting,
  • Beef grading to the consumer,
  • Trade negotiation.

In the US, UK and other beef producing countries, the Department of Agriculture performs these functions. In 1997 ABA leaders saddled producers with these functions and their costs under MLA.

ABA believes that Government is highly unlikely to take up the costs again.

Consequently, ABA states that there will have to have a statuary body with levies to cover the cost of these functions.

Processors and producer activists agree that they want separate organisations - both can make contributions to what is a regulatory authority.


To be funded by a Slaughter levy - eight million killed x $5 = $40 million. instead of the current - 14 million transactions x $5 = $70 million.

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