Reform plans move forward

By Country News

An overhaul of Australia’s $18billion red meat and livestock industry has drawn one step closer, following the release of a Green Paper with options for the future of the sector including the role of live exports and manufacturing.

The Green Paper was developed in response to overwhelming support for reform of the 20-year-old Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to define the roles, responsibilities and funding of Australia’s red meat industry bodies.

Lead reviewer and Red Meat Reform Taskforce chair Jim Varghese encouraged anyone with a stake in the industry to read and comment on the Green Paper by Thursday, March 14.

‘‘This green paper aims to comprehensively present where the industry is now and what a better future for the red meat industry would look like,’’ Mr Varghese said.

The Green Paper is part of an independent review of the MoU, which aims to position the industry for a better future by having the best structure to meet challenges including climate change and other environmental factors, animal welfare, low levels of investment, changing consumption patterns, and technological disruption.

The Green Paper outlines four options for potential reform: incremental change to the status quo; law of the jungle; a hybrid model; and a revitalised red meat industry led by a new organisation.

Red Meat Advisory Council chair Don Mackay has backed the call for bold and ambitious reform identified by stakeholders.

‘‘Our industry has achieved an enormous amount and we want it to keep on growing. Our duty is to ensure 20-year-olds entering the industry now — as businesspeople or employees — have a capable, streamlined and high performing industry over the next 30 years,’’ he said.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud welcomed the paper, labelling it a ‘‘once-in-a-generation chance’’.

‘‘Red meat has grown by 60 per cent in five years and good leadership will see that continue,’’ he said.

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