Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie has welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission study into Australia’s cattle and beef markets which she says goes to the heart of problems in the industry.
Senator McKenzie said concerns she had heard were about the culture of the industry.
‘‘A constant complaint that I have heard over a considerable time is the lack of transparency around how decisions are made inside the processing plant once a carcase is on the hook,’’ she said.
‘‘The recommendations that look at implementing an objective carcase rating scheme are very welcome.’’
Senator McKenzie said for a market to operate effectively and to deliver returns to the entire supply chain, transparency in set prices was needed.
‘‘Everybody needs to be able to understand why that particular beast fetched that particular amount of money on that market.
‘‘Farmers need to have that information available to them in a manner they understand, to use that information in their farming practices and to know if they are meeting market expectations.
‘‘At the moment that is not occurring and the ACCC recommendation that price grids should be made publicly available and that they are easy to interpret and compare is a good one and vital for farmers.’’
Senator McKenzie said the beef industry’s confidence needed enhancing and agreed that an independent process was the way forward.
‘‘I particularly support the recommendation that the Red Meat Advisory Council should develop a uniform and independent complaints and dispute resolution process to give confidence back to the industry.
‘‘I support the ACCC in recommending that the Red Meat Advisory Council should have prime responsibility for overseeing the recommendations and for monitoring their compliance.’’
Senator McKenzie said she would encourage everyone concerned in the study’s recommendations to take swift action on their implementation to return confidence to the industry.
‘‘I would also like to see the Red Meat Advisory Council and other interested parties including the ACCC appear before the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee before its Senate Report is finalised in coming months.’’