The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) today (4 July 2019) released a White Paper which will revolutionise the sector and establish a powerful organising force for red meat in Australia.

A better red meat future: A white paper for the Red Meat Advisory Council was prepared by an Independent Taskforce and contains recommendations to deliver an influential and high performing red meat industry.

RMAC Independent Chair Don Mackay said that White Paper proposes a business centric Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that reduces duplication and provides a single voice for Australia’s 82,500 red meat businesses.

“The White Paper recommends three new streamlined and unified industry bodies within the MOU: Red Meat Australia, a single research body and a single red meat integrity forum.”

“Over many years, industry has been extremely frustrated by too many red meat industry organisations, the lack of accountability and return on investment back to business from levies; and an uncoordinated and fractured approach to dealing with the Federal Government.”

“The White Paper recommends that Red Meat Australia be the single voice for Aussie red meat businesses, be the ultimate determinant of levy investment and deliver the public policy, social licence and domestic and international marketing roles.”

“This business-centric approach would make the industry a powerful organising force in Canberra and to the millions of customers and voters who enjoy our product as well as reduce bureaucracy and duplication, be more cost-effective, and be backed by a real accountability framework back to business and government.”

Chair of the Taskforce and Lead Reviewer, Mr Jim Varghese AM, said the White Paper provides a unique opportunity to address industry-based funding and representational issues that have been long identified but unaddressed.

“Our consultation with industry and business clearly highlighted the need for reform to ensure a stronger capacity for the industry to manage and address current and future issues like climate change, animal activism, technological disruption and in vitro meats.”

“Our review showed a strong appetite for change born from the achievements of the Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP) and the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the red meat business community.”

“This White Paper provides recommendations for the red meat industry to drive social and economic prosperity for the industry specifically and the Australian community as an industry of national significance,” Mr Varghese said.

“It is the view of the Taskforce that the White Paper recommendations will position the industry for the future and make it more accountable to those who have real ‘skin in the game’ through industry levies and taxpayer funds,” Mr Varghese said.

Mr Mackay said now the White Paper has been delivered, RMAC’s focus was to get to work and report back to industry on ‘where to from here’ in progressing the recommendations by November 2019.

“We have received and accepted the report of the Taskforce, and we thank the Mr Varghese and the entire Independent Taskforce for the brave future the White Paper recommends,” Mr Mackay said.

“In commissioning the White Paper, RMAC’s purpose was to understand how to provide greater returns on investment and drive demand for Australia’s 82,500 red meat businesses, and the White Paper certainly delivers this.”

“All signatories including RMAC’s six members are now considering the White Paper and have committed to providing a pathway to transition our industry to a stronger, more unified position.”

RMAC will provide a report on White Paper progress by November 2019.

A better red meat future

The White Paper recommends:

− A renewed plain English red meat MOU that is well understood by Australia’s 82,500 red meat businesses.
− Three new streamlined and unified industry bodies: Red Meat Australia, a single Red Meat Research Body + industry standards forum.
− Red Meat Australia would be the single voice for the Australian red meat and livestock industry.
− Red Meat Australia would be the single conduit for levies collected from business as well as assume the industry public policy, social license and marketing roles for the industry.
− Red Meat Australia would set the Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP); and all three new bodies would be accountable under the MISP to Red Meat Australia.
− The new MOU arrangements would reduce bureaucracy and duplication, be more cost-effective, and backed by a real accountability framework back to business and government.
− RMAC would be abolished with its activities absorbed by Red Meat Australia as well as the industry marketing function, and the research functions of AMPC, LiveCorp and MLA would be combined into a single red meat research body.

What happens now

Release of the White Paper marks the end of the MOU Review process, commissioned by RMAC in September 2018, chaired by Jim Varghese AM and conducted by an independent and skills based nine-member Taskforce.

The Terms of Reference of the Review were to assess how the twenty-year-old MoU can create real value for Australia’s red meat and livestock businesses, and what the MoU should look like to position the industry to meet future challenges and opportunities.

The White Paper is available for viewing at www.rmac.com.au/mou.

Media Contacts

Mr Mackay – RMAC CEO, Anna Campbell, 0448 692 245, anna@rmac.com.au Mr Varghese – Taskforce Secretariat, Dr Michael Morgan, michael@rmac.com.au