The Land NSWFA View Cattle Levy Inquiry

The Land Newspaper
NSW Farmers View
9 January 2014

Derek Schoen - Chair Cattle Committee

The cattle levy is a contentious issue.  Producers around the state and around the country have many different perspectives on how the levy should be collected and distributed and on how our industry’s money gets spent. 

For this reason the NSW Farmers Cattle Committee has welcomed the new government’s decision to hold a Federal Senate inquiry.  This is a great opportunity for producers to have our suggestions and concerns heard and debated openly.  As a committee we are eager to make a strong submission based on extensive consultation with our members which addresses questions such as whether the proportion of funding directed to R&D is adequate, whether there should be more flexibility in the distribution of the levy money to various organisations and whether Cattle Council should receive a portion of the levy directly. 

To kick start this process we developed a survey, available at our website www.nswfarmers.org.au, which almost 350 cattle producers around the state have filled in so far.  The results of this survey give our organisation important information which we are using to develop clear policy which will form the basis of our submission to the inquiry.  We will then feed this grassroots policy into Cattle Council to help develop a strong national position which reflects the views of producers.

Unfortunately the short timeframe for submissions to be made could prevent all cattle producers from having the opportunity to input into the process.  Submissions are due at the end of January; just over a month after the inquiry’s terms of reference were first announced.  This is clearly not enough time to go through a robust policy development process to give good direction to the inquiry.  It also makes it difficult for individual producers to put in their own important submissions.  For this reason we have been seeking an extension to the deadline for submissions until the 12 March 2014.  Without this extra time then it is hard to take this inquiry seriously as the information provided by the key industry bodies will not be reflective of broad consultation with producers.

I encourage all cattle producers who have not yet filled out our survey to do so, and this includes non members, so that we can have a comprehensive picture of the opinions across the state.  If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the cattle levy then this is a great opportunity to let us know so that we can include them in our submission.

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