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Price Transparency!!!

Three things caught my eye on the eve of Christmas.

Bindaree beef sent a flyer around saying the cattle prices are based on export markets and the US manufacturing market has a great bearing on Australian cattle prices and has fallen by 30% over recent months. And they go on to say “we believe the correction in the cattle market will reflect this in the New Year”. How many people are prepared to warn producers of a correction?

The second thing to catch my eye was a Facebook comment posted by Jacqueline Curly.  The Australian government has legislated to make retail pricing of fuel transparent to the public because this will create a follow-on benefit to the general public for better pricing and it will create a platform for the general public to scrutinise fuel companies and gain better deals.

This is what the beef industry is up against; transparency pricing is one of the major reforms that is desperately needed for beef farmers to receive a liveable income. Drought need not be huge catastrophe situation as it always is. The simple fact is that if farmers were payed sufficient prices for their product in good seasons, then they could afford to buy food for their animals from other areas during drought.

For over 15 years beef farmers had been belting their heads against a wall to receive sustainable pricing. It has taken a one-in-100 year drought to attain prices almost equivalent to the rest the developed world (but only in the last few months and no doubt until national herd numbers rebuild). For many producers and their animals it has come too late.

If transparency of pricing can be installed for the general public to gain better fuel pricing the beef industry can use the same mechanism – daily stock prices could offer transparency by meat Works. Why not have an Australian version of Stock Yard Packers Act?  This will allow farmers to choose the highest bidder.

The third piece of information came from the Senate 30/11/15. Supposedly representing producers’ interests were David Warriner consultant, Peter Hall CCA and Richard Norton MLA.

Sen. Williams says “I find it scary if I’m exporting something overseas and I don’t want the opposition to know what it is costing me”. Warriner says “exactly”. Norton says “most people we have consulted would agree with this”. Well I disagree!

To my way of thinking we have the two biggest processors in Australia wholly or jointly owned by American and Brazilian interests.  If these people don’t know the last cent of exactly what the production costs are in Australia, in my eyes they would be very stupid, and they are far from stupid.

Sen. Williams says “I listened to a bloke who rung up a talkback radio show the other night and said that it is terrible how a producer was getting three dollars a kilogram live weight and he was paying $25 a kilogram for steak. Senator, what is the solution?  Richard Norton, from MLA, handballed the question to Peter Hall from CCA.  Mr Hall says that CCA still has to analyse this and work out whether we should spend more money and whether producers would end up with any return on price transparency. Mr Hall also said “We could very well develop a cut out value for the domestic product”.

At this point I felt like pulling what little remaining hair I have left, I was so exasperated.


Fact: ABA has put huge efforts into getting a spreadsheet out there that tells you exactly what you would get off a given beast at a given weight and given retail prices along with the fact that you can change the cost to purchase the animal, the cost to kill, bone and retail costs can be all changed on the spreadsheet to give a clear estimate of producers’ share of the retail dollar and the mark up on retail, it also allows for offal.

With a new year 2016 let’s hope we can bring GENIUNE reform. For this to happen, self-interests must be put aside. Is this possible? Time will tell.

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