Under the present system, producer levies flow straight from government collection to the MLA. Cattle Council Australia are not much more than interested spectators having no control over the MLA’s management of the levies. MLA is obliged to consult with CCA but not to take notice.
Processors have their levies directed to Australia Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) with AMIC being their peak council. AMPC is solely funded and controlled by meat processors and can decide whether to use MLA or an independent provider, and how much to spend.
AMPC contribute $9M towards the upkeep of MLA whilst the government collects $18M in statutory levies which they then pass on to AMPC. AMPC currently have $30M in retained earnings. It should be remembered that CCA run on a negative budget.
ABA proposes to have a producer body implementing the same control over levy collection and expenditure as do the processors.
Cattle Council would like to see the present structure stay as is receiving a percentage of the $5 levy. However, if they succeed, the problems will remain with 4 peak councils paying only $49M which is less than the $54M dollars from grass fed levies.
The third diagram shows grass fed levy payers funds flowing into a producer group which replicates the system that processors and live shippers have. This ensures that MLA is a service provider for R&D and Marketing.
Cattle Council quote “Producers are crying out for change” and say that there is not sufficient transparency. I maintain that under the system proposed by CCA, producers will still not have transparency.
To actually achieve this we must first identify all producers and make sure everybody paying a statutory levy is presented with a vote, the same as AWI. Then all producers could be presented with a referendum so they would have a democratic vote for their preference.
Any new board would be elected by genuine producers while processors and lot feeders would not have a vote.
David Byard, ABA Executive Officer