Livestock producers cheer for transparency in sector

Tuesday 14 March 2017

VICTORIAN cattle producers have welcomed recommendations to crack down on anti-competitive behaviour across the livestock supply chain in a landmark report released last week by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock President Leonard Vallance said the organisation broadly supported the 15 recommendations handed down by the competition watchdog.

“The ACCC has made it very clear the industry is on notice and now it’s up to us to work with the Federal and State Governments to make sure these recommendations are followed,” Mr Vallance said.

Mr Vallance said the VFF was disappointed issues around pre- and post-sale weighing at saleyards, which had been a significant issue in the lead up to the inquiry, was not recommended in the report.

“Pre-sale vs post-sale weighing was the catalyst for the whole investigation, but it has been diluted by a myriad of supply chain issues,” he said.

“We have always said the industry needs to adopt pre-sale weighing of cattle to increase competition and transparency in transactions, and it’s frustrating the ACCC hasn’t given us a resolution on this matter.”

Transparency and accountability were major themes throughout the report, with the VFF applauding recommendations that industry prioritise implementing objective carcass measurement technology in abattoirs.

“Objective carcass measurement will help increase trust between processors and producers and achieve farm production benefits with precise carcass feedback,” Mr Vallance said.

“We fully support this recommendation subject to the funding structure because all supply chain participants will reap the benefits.

“We’ve already engaged Meat and Livestock Australia to partner in forums across Victoria to expose producers to this industry changing technology and how it can help boost returns to the farm gate.”

Mandatory price reporting was not recommended in the final report but improved voluntary market reporting was encouraged.

Mr Vallance said the VFF supported improved voluntary price reporting to give added transparency and improve decision making on farm, but stressed the need for MLA to conduct a cost benefit analysis on the proposal.

“It sounds great but we need to see the figures to show producers that the extra cost to industry is worth it,” he said.

The VFF thanked the ACCC for recommending that all livestock agents across the country be licensed.

“The ACCC has made it clear; there is no room for underhanded behaviour in this industry,” Mr Vallance said.

The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) has been charged with overseeing the implementation of the recommendations, and must report to State and Federal agriculture ministers on its progress.

“The VFF will work with RMAC to ensure the recommendations that are implemented will benefit Victorian livestock producers,” Mr Vallance said.

“We’ve been fighting for more transparency in the livestock industry for two years now and there’s still some way to go, but this report shows we are having an impact.”

Media Contacts:

Leonard Vallance, VFF Livestock President: 0417 551 547

Ashley Mackinnon, VFF Public Affairs Officer: 0417 165 784