Red meat livestock industry structure

​​​​The red meat industry has primary responsibility for its own affairs and strategic future direction. The Australian Government provides matching research and development funding, collects and disperses levy monies and facilitates the management of issues of national importance. Additionally, the Government works closely with the industry on market access and development opportunities and in furthering the interests of the industry in dealing with overseas governments and in multilateral negotiations.

The industry’s structural arrangements are set out under the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) underpins these arrangements. Signatories to the MOU are:​

The MOU sets out the Industry Partnership between the signatories. The MOU incorporates the definition of agreed roles and responsibilities; funding, planning and service delivery arrangements; the Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP); industry reserves; research and development; and the schedules, which cover:

The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) provides leadership on cross-sectoral issues and consults with the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources on agreed whole of industry matters. RMAC is the custodian of the MOU, MISP and industry reserves. It administers and uses income from the reserves to: cover peak council participation costs; coordinate maintenance of the MISP; review and provide support to industry relationships.

RMAC membership is limited to the presidents/chairmen of the peak bodies representing levy payers (CCA, SCA, ALFA, AMIC and ALEC). The Government has observer status at RMAC meetings. To be recognised as a peak body an organisation must clearly demonstrate that it represents coverage of an industry sector/sectors on a national basis, and satisfy the Minister that it is pursuing objectives that are in the interests of the sector as a whole and that its membership is open to the sector as a whole.

The peak bodies:

  • provide leadership, set strategic direction and formulate policies
  • respond and provide policy advice to the Minister on whole of industry issues and on the sector it represents
  • cooperate through RMAC with other Peak Industry Councils in developing MISP vision and imperatives
  • develop jointly with the industry service companies goals for achieving MISP strategic imperatives
  • consult with other Peak Industry Councils to ensure consistent MISP approaches
  • assess the performance of industry service companies in service delivery and goal achievement
  • consult widely and propose levy motions for member consideration at service company meetings and advise the Minister.

CCA, SCA, ALFA and the Goat Industry Council of Australia (GICA) established Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd (MLA) as a producer-owned service company to deliver marketing, promotion, R&D and other agreed joint functions for the whole of industry.

MLA is a company, limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001. The Australian Government is not a shareholder and does not have any members on MLA’s board of directors.

MLA membership is open to anyone who raises (producer), finishes (lot feeder) or trades (trader) in livestock (cattle, sheep, goats). MLA is funded by:

  • statutory levies from producers
  • statutory charges from livestock exporters and statutory levies from processors for joint activities
  • independent participants.

A Statutory Funding Agreement between MLA and the Australian Government facilitates research and development, matching funding and the management of levy monies.

The processors and livestock exporters have their own service companies – the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) and Australian Livestock Export Corporation Ltd (LiveCorp) respectively.

Both AMPC and LiveCorp:

  • operate independently of, but in conjunction with MLA
  • are owned and controlled by industry members with the principal function of managing the direction and delivery of industry funded programs and services
  • receive funding from levies or charges - AMPC receives funding through slaughter levies; and LiveCorp receives funding through customs charges on live animal exports
  • are companies limited by guarantee incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001
  • are controlled and directed by a Board of Directors comprising representatives from within the industry as well as special qualification members
  • are the recognised service bodies for their industries
  • the R&D projects they undertake with MLA are eligible for matching R&D funding from the Australian Government.

AUS-MEAT Ltd is a joint venture organisation funded by MLA and AMPC. AUS-MEAT maintains national industry standards for meat production and processing, including industry language and provides training and audit services on a commercial basis.

SAFEMEAT is a partnership set up between the Australian Government, state/territory governments and industry to ensure the integrity of Australia’s red meat industry by oversighting and promoting management systems to deliver a safe and hygienic product. SAFEMEAT also ensures adequate and nationally consistent government standards and regulations relating to meat safety and hygiene are implemented and effective crises management strategies are in place.

Animal Health Australia is a partnership set up between the Australian Government, state/territory governments, major livestock industries and other stakeholders to strengthen Australia’s national animal health system and maximise confidence in the safety and quality of Australia’s livestock products in domestic and overseas markets.

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Last reviewed: 1 October 2020
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