Next steps for Cattle Council

As doubts spring forth around the country with last week’s changes to the structure of the Cattle Council of Australia, CEO Margo Andrae is reminding everyone there’s avenues open to them.

CEO Margo Andrae

Cattle Council of Australia, CEO Margo Andrae

“For those out there who still have doubts – we are saying to you, there will be avenues for your voice to be heard and we will be listening.”

“As an industry, we must unite and acknowledge we aren’t always going to agree but we are better off together than apart. Join an SFO, or join us directly, and support us in fighting for our industry, not against it.”

The Cattle Council executive say it has committed to moving the organisation forward with a model that demonstrates increased transparency and increased representation across the beef industry.

Ms Andrae says there’s a lot of confusion out there about what happened last week.

“Today I want to confirm that Cattle Council will work to enhance the organisations directly elected model to build a stronger representative body.” The new model will develop opportunities for increased direct member involvement at all levels within the Council’s representative structure”.

The discussions have long revolved around access to the levies and long term sustainable funding streams, which go unresolved and continue to delay any progress.

Ms Andrae says the unanimous support by State Farming organisation’s (SFO’s) last week, who represent a significant number of beef producers, provides a sustainable funding stream for the new model to build upon.

“This was not an easy decision. Cattle Council have been engaged in the process to transition to Cattle Australia for years, but the reality is there coming a time where you have to move on and we made this decision with the support of Cattle Council founding members.”

“This decision was never about discounting producers, Senators or Ministers views or recommendations. We have listened and learnt from the experiences of the past few years and understand that there is plenty of frustration and misinformation out there.”

“The reality is after 3 years we no longer believed the committee tasked with designing the new structure had the ability to deliver, not because of a lack of will, but because of a lack of long term sustainable funding. Creating a new organisation only to have it fail almost immediately would have put the grass-fed beef industry, and grass-fed producers, in an even worse position.”

Ms Andrae say significant changes have been made within Cattle Council since the 2014 Senate Inquiry into grass-fed levies and she lists:

• the creation of the direct membership;
• the ability for direct members to nominate for the independent Director positions;
• a voting structure for Directors;
• a consultation framework which ensures consultation with producers on key areas including animal health and welfare, marketing, market access and trade, industry systems and R&D; and
• the ability for both SFO’s and direct members to nominate for the consultative committees.

“CCA have recognised the need to increase communications with all stakeholders as a key priority for 2018 and the need to continue to improve the effectiveness of the organisation around policy development, advocacy and levy oversight”.