Lead Reviewer and chair of the taskforce, Mr Jim Varghese AM.

Lead Reviewer and chair of the taskforce, Mr Jim Varghese AM.

Industry urged to have their say in a better red meat future

Industry urged to have their say in a better red meat future


Sponsored content: After four months work an independent taskforce has released a Green Paper for public comment that aims to position the Australian red meat industry for a brighter future.


This is sponsored content for the Red Meat Advisory Council.

Everyone in the red meat industry is being asked by industry leaders to give their feedback on options for reform of Australia’s $18 billion red meat and livestock industry by March 14.

After four months of review, an independent taskforce has released a Green Paper for public comment that aims to position the industry for a better future by having the best structure to meet increasingly urgent challenges.

The Green Paper was developed in response to an overwhelming appetite for reform of the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – the guiding document established 20 years ago to define the roles, responsibilities and funding of Australia’s red meat industry bodies.

The Green Paper is part of an Independent Review of the MoU being conducted by a Red Meat Reform Taskforce.

Lead Reviewer and chair of the taskforce, Mr Jim Varghese AM, encouraged anyone with a stake in the industry to read and comment on the Green Paper by March 14, 2019.

“Since the MoU was signed more than 20 years ago, the red meat industry has grown in size and complexity and there are increasing challenges ahead,” Mr Varghese said.

“To answer the key question as to whether bold reform is required and who will drive and shape it, we are working through a best practice policy review process to provide the industry with reform recommendations that make its governance framework fit for purpose.

“From the consultations we have had with industry bodies, I can confirm there is an overwhelming appetite for reform in the industry as stakeholders grapple with many issues.

“We are now seeking wide-ranging comments from right across the red meat supply on the Green Paper, and we will use that feedback to finalise our recommendations for reform,” Mr Varghese said.

Green Paper reveals burning platform

The independent taskforce has formed the view that change in the industry will be significant and likely to accelerate in the next two decades.

Some of the issues outlined in the Green Paper include animal welfare, climate change and other environmental factors, an increasing regulatory burden, rising export dependence, low levels of investment, changing consumption patterns, affordability, process change and technological disruption.

Faced with this ‘burning platform’ of issues demanding urgent change, the Taskforce identified a growing recognition right along the red meat supply chain that the industry could do a lot better and take a bold leap forward – that it can take control and shape its own future rather than respond reactively to events and challenges that may force others to take control.

Reform options are up for discussion

The Taskforce has consulted primarily with MoU signatories to form four options for the future, and is now putting those options to all stakeholders to encourage a productive national discussion about if and how the industry’s governance needs to change.

This is in line with best policy review practice, and is consistent with the industry’s desire to move forward quickly.

The four options are:

Option 1: Incremental change: Existing provisions are largely left in place.

Option 2: Law of the jungle: The MoU is eliminated and industry bodies compete for funding.

Option 3: Hybrid model: Merging of the functions of service providers and peak industry councils, a process that may have to be done over a five-year timeframe or more to ensure that consensus emerges.

Option 4: Revitalised red meat industry led by a new organisation.

Feedback generated during the consultation period may show that the ultimate model for change, if warranted, may involve a combination of these options.  It may also comprise components the Taskforce and its stakeholders have not discussed in recent months. 

Everyone in the industry with a view on our industry’s structure is encouraged to make a submission to the Taskforce which outlines industry needs and suggests workable options for change.

Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council Mr Don Mackay has backed the call for bold and ambitious reform.

“The discussion generated through this Green Paper process will be essential to informing the independent taskforce’s final recommendations.

“From now until March 14 is the chance for everyone to have a say in how we can improve the future of the red meat industry.”

Go to Red Meat Advisory Council to view and comment on the Green Paper today.

This is sponsored content for the Red Meat Advisory Council.