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Senate notes Agriculture Minister inaction on beef levy reforms

Greens spokesperson on Competition Policy, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson comments on the Greens motion passing the Senate today, noting that the Minister for Agriculture is letting down Australian beef producers by not acting on the Senate committee recommendations for reforming the beef levy system.

“The Greens welcome the Senate’s ongoing support for a fundamental overhaul of the grass-fed beef levy system in Australia.

“Considerable work went into last year’s inquiry, which heard evidence from across the country and canvassed hundreds of producers and organisations.

“The committee made 7 recommendations, including an overhaul of the system allowing a democratically elected producers’ representative group which could control its own levies and ultimately its own destiny.

“The current system has failed grass-fed producers. Anyone could see this, the Senate sees this, beef producers from across the country see this. The only person who doesn’t is the Minister for Agriculture.

“Twelve months after the Senate committee’s report it is time for the Minister to get a move along and show whose interests he really represents. He has the power to make this happen,” he concluded.

Senator Whish-Wilson’s short speech on the motion can be seen here.

The motion passed by the Senate was –

That the Senate notes:

(a) the seven recommendations of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee’s inquiry into industry structures and systems governing levies on grass-fed cattle;
(b) that the Minister for Agriculture (Mr Joyce):
(i) has only supported, in principle, two of the seven recommendations, and
(ii) has rejected the primary recommendation, being the establishment of a legislated producer-owned body;
(c) that the Australian Beef Association, the Cattle Council of Australia, and the Australian Meat Producers Group and Concerned Beef Producers have presented a united voice to the Minister for Agriculture in support of the primary recommendation to establish a legislated producer-owned body; and
(d) that claims by the Liberal and National parties that they are supporters of the Australian beef industry are undermined by the failure of the Minister for Agriculture to support the united voice of beef producers.
Greens spokesperson on Competition Policy, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson

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