ABA: MLA Must Start Wind Up

AUSTRALIA - Australian Beef Association (ABA) Chairman, Brad Bellinger said that there is much discussion among larger producers and processors on what should replace Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) as large sections of the company have become irrelevant in an industry that has altered dramatically over the 13 year life of MLA.
calendar icon 14 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

He stated that this was very healthy but that nothing could actually happen until the current structure is wound up. This is why over 100 MLA members have moved for the wind up by December 2012.

ABA states the reason is because of concerns of the proposers of the Notice of Motion that MLA has failed to provide value for money outcomes to its core stakeholders - Australian cattle farmers.

ABA states that MLA has failed to:

  • properly meet its obligations to properly protect the interests and income of those involved in the Live Cattle export trade, despite spending $25million on welfare R&D.

  • deliver higher cattle prices while domestic retail prices have increased by 50 per cent since 2000

  • take advantage of the opportunity to lodge a submission on behalf of cattle producers to the ACCC inquiry into supermarket meat pricing and abuse of their monopoly market power.

  • transparently account for its A$700 million expenditure on R&D. MLA has commissioned more than 4000 projects yet less than 10 per cent of the reports are available. Thirty per cent of MLA’s R&D is now “commercial in confidence” and A$600 million of R&D is unaccounted for.
    Of paramount concern is the absence of robust data on funding and spending flows within the framework. As a result, it is hard to be certain about how much is being spent, with whom it is being spent, and which parties are ultimately providing the funding. Information on private funding for rural R&D, over and above contributions via industry levies, is particularly limited. Productivity Commission, February 2011.
  • oppose the importation of beef from the USA and other countries with a history of BSE and actually supported the importation in the Senate hearings.

  • commission a transparent cost/benefit analysis and performance audit of mandatory NLIS, a cattle tagging system and data base that is estimated to cost cattle producers A$500 million per year.

  • design and implement a grading system that rewards producers of quality beef and indicates quality to consumers.

Mr Bellinger said that MLA is refusing to publish the above reasons in the Notice of Meeting despite being informed that Senior Counsel has advised the movers that MLA have no grounds on which to do so.

“Their time has run out” He concluded.

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