The Plan adopts four broad strategies to address the key challenges facing the Australian beef industry:
- Strategy 1 - Increase Real Cattle Prices
- Strategy 2 - Reduce Beef Industry Costs
- Strategy 3 - Industry Organisational Restructure
- Strategy 4- Decentraliasation
- A potential whole of domestic beef industry payout of over $1 billion a year through the introduction of a national beef grading system;
- Improved beef marketing programs;
- Improved accountability and efficiency of industry bodies;
- Decentralisation incentives to address the declining and aging rural population, and improve services and infrastructure in rural and regional areas.
The Strategic Plan was prepared by Hunt Partners for the Beef’s New Direction Task Force, a beef industry think tank that was established following a forum of producers held in Armidale, NSW in February this year.
At that forum over 1,200 beef producers from Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and New South Wales expressed their anger at the decision to allow beef imports into Australia from BSE affected countries and their dissatisfaction with the current industry organisational and consultative structure and the declining profitability of the industry.
The forum expressed particular concern about the sharp decline in cattle prices and domestic consumption over the past 10 years, which industry bodies such as RMAC and MLA have failed to address despite having received billions of dollars in producer levies.
The Strategic Plan was endorsed at a follow-up producer forum at Paradise Lagoons in Rockhampton on 16th July by over 500 cattle producers who collectively own over 1.25 million head of cattle out of a national herd of around 24 million.
Producers are calling for relief from industry costs and levies which have increased significantly in recent years. The 2001 Heilbron Report into the impact of government on red meat industry competitiveness, commissioned by MLA, found that Australian producers paid about 33% of their revenue in government influenced costs and charges whilst US producers paid around 12.5%.
The report concluded that the failure to reverse the increase in government costs and charges must inevitably contribute to the long-term decline of Australia’s livestock industries.
Government influenced costs and charges have continued to increase since 2001 and beef producers now pay 8 times more in levies than their US competitors.
At the same time agricultural exporters have had to deal with the consequences of an unprecedented resources boom which has driven the value of the Australian dollar from 50.5 cents USD to 88 cents USD which means Australian agricultural exporters are receiving significantly less for their product than they were in 2001.
The Australian beef industry can not survive the double impact of uncompetitively high government charges and a high Australian dollar which is driving down the revenue they receive for their exports.
This industry needs State and Federal governments to develop a long term strategy to ensure the survival of its rural export industries during this unprecedented resources boom.
The Strategic Plan provides concrete strategies to address the issues which producers identified as presenting the greatest challenges to their businesses and communities.
A copy of the Plan can be viewed or printed HERE.
The resolutions adopted by 500 beef producers at the Rockhampton Forum can be viewed HERE.
For all information on the Rockdale Forum see: http://www.beefforum.com.au/