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Victorian cattle producers are demanding a crackdown on anti-competitive behaviour across the livestock supply chain following the release recently of a landmark Senate report that slammed the lack of transparency in the red meat industry.
The Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock section welcomed the recommendations which are aimed at improving transparency and accountability throughout the value chain including those around objective carcass management.
“It’s clear from the evidence tabled throughout the inquiry and the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) beef market study that behaviours from certain players within the industry weren’t enabling a fair and transparent market where all participants are able to flourish,” VFF Livestock President Leonard Vallance said.
“It’s vitally important that the entire value chain is sustainable and that anticompetitive practices are stamped out and we implore the national industry bodies to get on board and implement the senate committee recommendations one to three and the ACCC recommendations or the regulatory axe will come down,” Mr Vallance said.
However, VFF Livestock is looking for further clarity on recommendations relating to industry representation and the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding.
“It’s clear that recommendations four to seven are born out of frustration of industry’s unwillingness to act on the ACCC recommendations, but we advise against undertaking another review into the industry. We need to be rational.
“Surely after eight inquiries into the red meat industry in the last 17 years we have enough evidence to suggest something’s wrong and there needs to be change.
“There needs to be a realignment of priorities back to grass roots and equity in whole of industry representation because for too long southern producers have not had their voices listened to at the national table and these recommendations are a symptom of this.
“The VFF recognise that the restructure of Cattle Council of Australia has stalled and the implementation committee has failed to deliver meaningful change.
“As a founding member of Cattle Council, the VFF calls for the immediate dissolution of the implementation committee and an urgent meeting of state livestock chairpersons to lead the change process towards a unified and sustainable structure truly representative of industry.
“To enable this change the VFF will continue its work in moving to a more modern structure that provides representation for all Victorian livestock producers.
“As Victoria’s peak industry body, VFF Livestock will continue to explore the South Australian farmer representative model that would act as a conduit for the national peak industry bodies.”
Mr Vallance thanked the senate committee for the work conducted over the last two-and-a-half years.
“Victorian livestock producers are thankful of the hard work of the committee, especially Senator Bridget McKenzie, who has tirelessly championed the cause for southern producers,” Mr Vallance said.
The final senate committee report including recommendations can be found at: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/RedMeat45/Report

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