The final report from the red meat senate inquiry was released last week. Its conclusions highlighted there are competition issues within the red meat industry, which generally act to the detriment of producers.
The report contained two key recommendations to improve competition.
The first recommendation focused on the need for greater transparency and flow of information in livestock transactions. The fundamental element to support and ensure fair competition for livestock is ensuring all participants have access to open and transparent information. NSW Farmers argued in its original submission to this inquiry for greater transparency of information in livestock sales.
The other key area identified was the need for grading results to be trusted by industry participants. The red meat industry is addressing producers concern with grading results through moving towards objective carcase measurement technology. The senate recommended that industry undertake a review.
These conclusions and recommendations are not new to industry. Earlier this year the ACCC market study highlighted the same competition and transparency issues. The ACCC made a number of recommendations to improve the situation and the response from industry have been lacking action, openness and cooperation.
This response is clearly frustrating politicians. The senators in the report highlighted their frustration with the red meat industry’s culture of non-acceptance and inaction. They have clearly explained that their preference is for industry to drive the changes required.
However, they have clarified that further failure to act will be met with regulatory intervention. Regulatory intervention is not an acceptable outcome for NSW Farmers as it would only add to the already large red tape burden on industry.
– Bill Stacy, NSW Farmers cattle committee chairman