Grass Fed Levy Payer Senate Recommendations Hijacked

taxesFULL (14 pgs) Cattle Council of Australia/ABA/AMPG/CCP New Structure Proposal as handed to Minister Joyce – 17/02/2015

FULL first year budget as proposed by Cattle Council of Australia/ABA/AMPG/CCP – as handed to Minister Joyce – 17/02/2015

by John Michelmore – United Stockowners of Australia

*Update – stitch-up – refer to questions at the bottom*

It has been reported in the media, that there is agreement from some grass fed cattle producer groups in relation to a proposal submitted to Minister Joyce in response to the Senate Inquiry into grass fed cattle levies and its associated structures. Unfortunately these groups Cattle Council (CCA), the ABA, AMPG and CCP only represent about 10% of grass fed levy payers, the remaining 90% of grass fed cattle producers remain unconsulted and most are unsupportive of the current CCA proposal.

In effect the CCA confidential proposal, as supplied to United Stockowners of Australia, is all about funding of CCA, rather than representation of grass fed cattle producers, the majority of which are not members of CCA or the SFO’s and less likely ABA, AMPG or CCP. The biggest concern is that the reformed CCA believe that all grass fed cattle producers can be represented by CCA, and that CCA can reincarnate itself into 2 separate entities at the same time; one political and one legislative. It simply can never do that, there is a massive conflict of interests.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of reforming CCA; that’s a matter for those organizations and their voluntary members, but they cannot be funded from Consolidated Revenue, originally Cattle Transaction Levy (CTL), in any circumstance; and besides if there is a corporation needed to manage the CTL then that needs to be a totally separate non-political entity, like the Senate stipulated.

It should be highlighted that the Senate Inquiry at 7.23 (page 82 and 83) reads: – “For self-determination to succeed, the industry must establish its own inclusive and consultative structures on which to build consensus and determine its own future. Nevertheless, in concurrence with the majority of statutory funding agreements between industry-owned companies and the Commonwealth, the new body should not be permitted to engage in agripolitical activities.”

CCA seek to undermine that principal and fund theiragri-political activities, including fees to NFF, from what is Consolidated Revenue. In general industry commentators are opposed to this:-

a)      Ex Cattle Council head, John Wyld has said “Through all of this, my own opinion is that Cattle Council will only become a strong, proud body, that can act independently if it has members of its own who are all paying a fee and take an active role in the governance of Cattle Council and have a method of participation.”

b)      Mr Keogh of AFI said At this month’s Canberra hearing of the Senate inquiry into agricultural levies, great confusion exists between industry representative structures and the links they have to some rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs), and their roles”.  

But he warned, “They are two separate issues”

The United Stockowners endorse and support the comment of Senator Leyonhjelm that AWI is a “potential standard” for a corporation that manages other levies, including the CTL.

The most important issue is for the Minister to implement recommendations 2,3,4,5,6,7 first.  That will ID the cattle producer levy payers (R2) based on the AWI model; remove the processors from the cattle industry voting bloc (R3); have an inquiry into how the levy money has been wasted since 1997(R4); remove and destroy RMAC (R5); remove the subsidy for the levy honey-pot (R6); and legislate to regulate the monopoly of the processors (R7).

This will take some time, and the Minister can simply manage the “industry” as has been the case since 1997, however no new R&D should undertaken and the processor CTL should be redirected to AMPC immediately. After all that is done then Recommendation 1 should be assessed on the basis of – do the now indentified Grass-fed Levy payers  want a compulsory Collective that pays compulsory levy , using a national Plebiscite preferably by the AEC in accordance with the “Levies principals and Guidelines.”

United Stockowners will never support government advocacy funding of CCA or NFF; if that becomes a reality then we will lobby the Senate for a disallowance motion to vote down the levy in its entirety.

*UPDATE – stitch-up – refer to questions at the bottom*

From the current Senate inquiry (hansard – Dated 28th November 2014) into “Marketing and research and development levies in the agricultural sector” Mr Matthew Koval of the “Agricultural Policy Division” for the Department of Agriculture is quizzed by Senator Ruston:

Senator RUSTON: Senator Leyonhjelm will probably jump in here. This inquiry come on the back of the number of disallowance motions—instruments within the chamber that Senator Leyonhjelm was seeking to disallow—on the basis that, despite the fact that they had met the criteria of the levy-payers having agreed to increase the levies, there appeared to be a situation where many people had not been involved in the decision making. I cannot remember the numbers but I think Senator Leyonhjelm quoted the numbers for mangoes and onions. Whilst there were 200 growers only 35 had responded to the poll, and 20 of them had said yes. Therefore you guys had reason to say, ‘We’ll make a recommendation to the minister that the levy should be increased.’ I think the fundamental issue here is that you have to be engaged. If somebody does not want to be engaged they do not have to be engaged. It seems to me that there is a very small percentage of the industry that are making the decisions on behalf of a very large percentage of the industry. Maybe we do not have robust enough things in place to identify who the rest of the industry is. I do not know the figures, but how do we know that, in the case of the mangoes, a robust process was gone through by the mango industry association, or whoever it happened to be—I am sure I will talk to us—and that they attempted to find every that levy-payer? Did they have the capacity to know who they were in the first place? How did we end up with a recommendation for a levy increase on the back of 20 per cent of the industry being involved in the survey to make that decision?

Mr Koval: There are a couple of different layers to consultation. One is around how they consult with individual levy-payers about the future direction of the organisation and those types of things. When it comes to whether a levy should be struck or whether a levy should be increased or decreased or whether there should be changes to the levy arrangements, we sit down with them. Before they go out we talk about what the consultation plan is. We look for evidence that they have followed through on that consultation plan, that people have seen it and everything else.

Individuals who choose not to vote is a very difficult issue. How do you say that x number of people who have seen the information must vote. In terms of identifying them, if it goes out into all the normal channels we expect an industry person to see—broadcasting general media, industry media and through other industry groups, such as improvement groups and those types of things—and we can see evidence that they have made a genuine attempt to consult and encourage people to vote and that the voting is simple, clear and transparent we are then satisfied that that process has been followed. Then we wait for the numbers to come in. So there are different layers of consultation around levies.

[T]hen on the 21st January 2015 the Australian Beef Association (ABA) sent out an email urging cattle producers (and presumably anyone else with a PIC number) to go to a website and complete a “Survey” concerning only recommendation (1).  Then on the 28th January 2015 the ABA sent out an email again urging, and as what was pointed out to them, anyone with a PIC number to go to this specific website and complete their flawed survey, again, concerning only recommendation (1):

ABA email (593x800)

[T]hen on the 17 February 2015 the Minister of Agriculture – Barnaby Joyce – announces in a media release that:

“Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, has today expressed his appreciation to stakeholder groups within the grass-fed cattle sector for coming together and presenting him with a unified industry position on a proposal to reform the grass-fed beef representative organisation.

Minister Joyce said that industry’s unified proposal is a historic and essential contribution to the government’s formal response to the Senate Inquiry into the grass-fed beef levy.”

[T]he obvious questions are now begging to be asked:

  • Did the department or the Minister’s office advise ABA/CCP & AMPG (and possibly CCA) to do a *Survey* concerning only recommendation (1) ?
  • Did the department or the Minister’s office have any input into the *preparation* of CCA’s/ABA/ AMPG and CCP industry restructure proposal, concerning only recommendation (1) & budget handed to Minister Joyce on the 17/02/2015 ?


  1. Rob Wass says:

    I just love this little tid-bit:

    5.1. Set levy Expenditure
    • CCA staff bring together committee feedback on relevant sections of MLA AOP, AHA AOP and NRS plan combined with CCA plan and ensure overall funding is adequate.

    5.6. Propose Levy Motions
    • If under 5.1, CCA do not consider levy expenditure to be at the required levels build a business case and make recommendations for levy changes.

    That’s as good as claiming that a tax increase is a saving. – What is it about Qld’ers and Swanonomics ?

  2. cheque in the mail says:

    Looking at the ABA email; what do Cattle Council of Australia (CCA, your State Farm Organisation (SFO) or the ABA, AMPG or CCP not have in common with Meat and Livestock Australia ?

    The toadies at ABA should know this. The answer is quite simple, the aforementioned Meat and Livestock Australia is the only one of this group that is listed as an Agency of the Department of Agriculture.

    So the ABA thinks that one could actually believe in a government agency ?

    Actually, believing that the ABA has completely lost the plot is a whole lot easier, and less expensive.

  3. mockingjay says:

    Hey “cheque in the mail”, you’ve missed the point – they are all the same – all inside the tent , what did [mod~snip] call them….. “the stupid levy payers” – you know, the ones [mod~snip] does not want to obtain their vote!!! or have a say!!! According to a conversation I had with the dissident [mod~snip] was offered a board position, provided [mod~snip] did not support the remaining 6 Senate Recommendations … if true, people do naughty things when they are desperate!!!

    At last the ABA has been forced to show their hand and declare their hand and join the CCA, they are now where they always wanted to be, forced to make a move to save their precious structure and gravy train which is threatened. Its the money they are all focused on the money!!
    It must be indeed a bitter pill for CCA to have to accept ABA, bugger me what humble pie they had to consume just to hold the line and acquiesce and comply just to satisfy the Party; they sure as hell must be desperate.

    Everyone should go and read the Hansard record of the November 2014 hearings of the current Senate inquiry and read the Department evidence – it is abundantly clear that the “industry” bodies both statutory and political are controlled absolutely by the bureaucrats at every turn. “Sir Humphrey Appleby” just sets it out for all to read, “we advise them on governance … on strategic plans … (and dissidents) … we investigate the ones making the most noise … including the “underlining factors” why the person is complaining” , he said – I wonder how Government justifies departmental officers investigating political matters of ordinary Taxpayer citizens??? Bit of a Soviet flavor I think!!!
    Nobody believes the CCA was the author of restructure and budget, Sir Humphrey and his Task-force advising on governance, enforcement , structure , finance ; they most definitely want to retain the current control !!!! and to that they need to continue to collect the levy (rather than Treasury) and dole it out and implement Government Policy … neat idea … eh? Yes, Minister …..

    And the “Market Failure” definition … Sir Humphrey, simply a masterpiece – the Peak Council approaches the Department – asks for a Levy – Sir Humphrey says “What for” – “we are short of cash, we need to carry our R&D to find out why we have no cash” – Sir Humphrey, ” no drama we declare you a “prescribed Industry body” and appoint you as representative of the whole cattle industry constituency … and now we’ll fund you and make the “free riders” (your words Sir Humphrey) pay” … and that’s what they term a democratic process

    And it now becomes obvious that ABA was always part of the oppression!!! What treachery, I wonder what their remaining membership think; hopefully filling in their resignations now that ABA has merged with CCA.

    Stay tuned there’s plenty more to come!!!

  4. Rob Wass says:

    Cattle Council of Australia has just claimed, in Fairfax media, (concerning their budget for the CCA/ABA/AMPG and CCP) grass-fed body that:

    “CCA says the figures weren’t released because they are essentially meaningless.

    CCA’s chief executive Jed Matz and president Howard Smith told Fairfax Media the budget was drawn up, reluctantly, by CCA as a rough attempt to address questions from other groups about how a new producer-elected representative body might work and the funding sources it might work with.

    Mr Matz said that once the notional budget drafted by CCA had satisfied its purpose as a talking point among the advocacy groups, the documents were put aside as having no further purpose.

    They “have no status”, in Mr Matz’s view, not least because funding of NewCorp is yet to be formally considered – including a decision on whether it might receive a proportion of levy funds or none at all.”

    [S]o Cattle Council of Australia has just handed a “…meaningless….” document to a Minister of the Crown and in which Minister Joyce described as: – Minister Joyce said that industry’s unified proposal is a historic and essential contribution to the government’s formal response to the Senate Inquiry into the grass-fed beef levy.”

    [F]urther the article claims that Cattle Council’s proposed budget does not: – “But CCA’s draft budget pointedly avoids allocating any levy funds to advocacy. Instead, it proposes that CTL funds be used to support peak council activities, including:….” – [B]ecause: – “…..but advocacy would instead be supported by $530,000 a year drawn from the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) fund.”

    [T]his is complete bullshit because the RMAC from which Cattle Council will “support” its “advocacy” is the Government’s prescribed trust body for the “Net Industry Reserve Fund” (Reserve Fund) which originates directly from the Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund on “Loan” to RMAC which, via accrued dividends, funds the red meat industries Peak Councils – including CCA – to perform their Government contracted duties as defined in the ‘Industry’s’ Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

  5. Rob Wass says:

    The Fairfax media article by Matthew Cawood further quotes, presumably by Jed Matz, that Cattle Council of Australia (CCA): – “The documents were put aside as having no further purpose – they have no status”

    Considering this proposition by CCA; then why did CCA release 3 pages of one document, none of the budget, into an article – Grassfed groups present Joyce with restructure plan - in the respected online journal ‘Beef Central’ if the subjective documents: – “….. were put aside as having no further purpose – they have no status – ?

    But more importantly; if the documents: – “……were put aside as having no further purpose – they have no status” – why did CCA hand deliver these documents to Minister Joyce which the Minister then went onto say in his press release on the matter that: – “Minister Joyce said that industry’s unified proposal is a historic and essential contribution to the government’s formal response to the Senate Inquiry into the grass-fed beef levy.” – ?

    [A]s it now transpires, the only thing that is “historic and essential” about this complete circus is how CCA chucked Minister Joyce, and possibly the Department, under a bus.

    Fair dinkum, you couldn’t make this stuff up no matter how hard you tried !!

  6. Rob Wass says:

    This is past being a circus:

    Going back to the 12th September 2014 the then President of Queensland’s recognised State farming Organisation (SFO) AgForce, one Howard Smith said in an article – “AgForce endorses only one of seven Senate recommendations” – in the respected journal ‘Beef Central’ that:

    “We are strongly of the view the peak council for grass fed cattle should not be established in legislation and that this should be completely autonomous from Government. We need to be able to advocate and lobby on issues like government resourcing, market access and regulatory reform independently” he said.”

    [Further], in the same article under “AgForce Response” it states that:

    “AgForce Cattle Board does not support Recommendation 1 or its adoption by Government. AgForce Cattle is of the view the peak council for grass fed cattle should not be established in legislation. This needs to be completely autonomous from Government”

    [Much] the same twisting, or complete ignorance, of the on the ground facts was posted on Fairfax’s farmonline by Agforce, CCA with the added voice of the only SFO where the Cattle actually vote, Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA).

    To slightly digress, apparently Howard Smith, at that time, and AgForce are completely unaware that Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) were already and have been since 1997 “Legislated” under the AMLI Act and Regulations.

    The same Howard Smith, now President of Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) according to the “industry’s unified proposal” and a “historic and essential contribution” documents handed by CCA to Minister Joyce, directly before CCA chucked the Minister under a bus, now says that they only endorse recommendation 1 – the “Legislated” money recommendation.

    Could be that they (CCA) might endorse something else tomorrow under another “Unified” – CCA/ABA/AMPG & CCP – proposal.

  7. Rod Dunbar says:

    Another ominous point is the budget line item re the Pasture Fed QA project owned by CCA – the plan is to make that program compulsory like LPA and NLIS but at a direct cost to producers flowing into the CCA bank account. If you factor in the total cattle production premises (82,000 in the submission) then by comparison, when full implementation is achieved CCA will be earning between $4 -$8 million annually depending on what they charge; alone.

    The 90% of producers do not agree with that, how about the CCA/ABA 10% – Is that what you want?

    It can be argued that the compulsory LPA scheme, owned and operated by AusMeat Ltd which only has authority under the Export Control Act 1982 for the auditing of ‘Export Premises’, needs to be removed from ‘AusMeat Ltd’ on the grounds that virtually all grass fed cattle properties are not ‘Export Premises’ within the meaning of the Act. This is to say that most grass fed properties sell their cattle to domestic buyers and it is they – domestic buyers – who then in turn do what they like with the product including ‘Exporting’ it. In any event, there would hardly be any grass fed producers that have obtained an ‘Export Licence’ in the first place, which places the ‘Auditors’ sent out by AusMeat under the LPA scheme to audit grass fed producers properties, and AusMeat itself, in a very precarious position in attempting to exercise an authority they simply don’t have.

  8. cheque in the mail says:

    Rod – let me get this straight. The same representative Neanderthals [mod~ from a bygone era] who sat on their hands while the processors fashioned havoc on their membership’s private properties with lpa now want to put their hand into the same cookie jar ? What and the ABA backed this crap ?

  9. Rob Moore says:

    [Mod~ Rob M I have added the Just Grounds link to your name]

    Well done “-stockowners” team- you do quality work and deal with the detail – not kindergarden fantasies like CCA. I finally stirred enough to get an hour long talk with Phillip Glide- no2@ DA out of 4000 who work there!!??wtf!. He was quite knowlegable and there is no shades of grey to him-ANY CHANGES will have to be drafted to legislation and checked with the AGS………………..then pass both houses.
    It floored me to hear that it was barely past day #1 in this task- very little done at all on how they could identify and then quantify how much levy that we all pay. I know for certain that it has been a “church plate ” for the last 16 years and an absolute “joke” which is wide open for- and indeed has been rorted consistently. I had to pay MLA for the voting register from the Longreach MLA/AGM- it cost me $500 and I was sworn to secrecy………………..Well I can tell anyone for nothing that JBS were by far the biggest voting block on our grassfed show with 820000 votes.These could have only come from their own feedlots which IS NOT a transaction and they are using -I assume the votes from the levies they collect on behalf of their clients.It is pure bullshit designed by an inbecile and must be terminated immediately.
    #rec7 is vital to bring the competition back and terminate the bully/ rorts on grading and this latest scam over the saleyard “post weigh” v” pre weigh ” like they always did there.NEWCORP should be in place NOW to deal with thse type of issues and it wouldn’t need much money to take a stand – just a bit of UNCOMMON guts( forget the fat fools who have sold us down the toilet for the last 16 years and we must put the burner on Joyce’s backside or the next election will be here in no time

  10. Rob Wass says:

    This circus just gets better and better.

    On the 19th February 2015, 2 days after the “No Status” documents were handed to Minister Joyce by the Nobel Laureates for reliable confusion and muddy discourse, Farmonline ran the article – Grassfed levy payers get their say.

    Some article grabs:

    President of CCA says: – “It will give grassfed levy payers a direct say on how their money will be managed,” said Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) president Howard Smith.

    “Prior to this, unless you were a part of a State farming organisation, you didn’t have that mechanism.”

    [W]hen then president of AgForce Mr Smith was the main protagonist for SFO retention of this ‘Mechanism’ but the really sad part about Mr Smith’s statement is that for 18 years CCA knew how unilaterally unrepresentative this ‘Mechanism’ is and as late as September still openly supported its retention, until that is, they supported its removal to the Minister then walked away from that support as having “No Status”.

    Using new found reverse logic Mr Smith now says, well at least on the 19th of Feb:

    “Mr [Howard] Smith, politically a product of the Queensland SFO, AgForce, thinks the change might be a shot in the arm for the State organisations.

    “SFOs have been bankrolling all the peak councils; they have been paying the bills. And I think they could utilise all the money they spend back in their own organisations, or through more investment into the NFF, something like that.”

    [N]ot to be outdone the Australian Beef Association’s Linda Hewitt picks up a Laureate ‘Show Bag and Fortune Telling Tent Prize’ for this contribution:

    “Producers should be excited, because they are getting exactly what they wanted – or we hope they’re getting what they wanted,” said ABA’s Linda Hewitt.”

    [A]ll of which led to Minister Joyce entering the ‘Excited Bedwetting Stakes’ for adults avoiding the bleeding obvious farce with:

    “Barnaby rejoices

    Mr Joyce’s relief at finding consensus within a tangled and often bitter debate was evident.”

    [P]erhaps the Minister could repair a few oil leaks while he is under the CCA’s “No Status” bus.

  11. Rob Moore says:

    This proposed budget of $4M being diverted from the CTL pool is way back to CCA’s first thought bubble -BEFORE the senate Inquiry. This stuff bears no semblence to the clear seven recs and it is a slight of hand to pretend otherwise.
    It is “compulsory unionism -with no avenue for input” at present and any fiddling the name and deck chairs is totally UNACCEPTABLE and would not be allowed under the act. It is almost as if we have been in a time warp for the last year………….and everyone involved is in denial at what Sterles senate report suggested. Joyce must act or they will be like the VIC and now QLD govts-gooone.Frankly- they will deserve every bit of it -if they are that brainless that they can’t see the calamity that we have had selling us out for the last 18 years. I don’t like the red team -one bit but at least they are acting “true to type” – these current clowns are all just talking heads with no idea how to do anything practical. The clock is ticking Barney…………………………..tick tick tick……………

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