The Ovens Valley branch of the Victorian Farmers’ Federation has called for government legislation to lock in a Mandatory Price Reporting system to provide clear and relevant information for beef farmers and the industry.
In an open letter to the Agriculture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, the Ovens Valley VFF said developing a transparent price reporting system could not be left in the hands of the industry.
They said there was overwhelming support for MPR among beef producers in the branch.
“We call on Mr Joyce to support our call for legislation to establish a Mandatory Price Reporting system to change the culture that has become entrenched and is detrimental to the future of the industry,” branch secretary Loretta Carroll said.
In its Milestone 5 report Meat and Livestock Australia said mandatory price reporting would have high set-up costs and low support from meat processors and others along the supply chain including supermarkets.
“We believe a compelling case for price transparency reform was made in Milestone reports 2, 3 and 4, however, Milestone 5 report backed away from the wide-ranging benefits clearly stated in earlier reports,” Ms Carroll said.
Ms Carroll said the government had acknowledged the need for significant measures to improve price transparency.
“Senator Bridget McKenzie was instrumental in establishing the Senate inquiry into the red meat processing sector as a result of the processor boycott at Barnawartha in February 2015, and we are grateful for the government supporting two Senate inquiries and establishing the special agricultural unit within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,” she said.
MLA plans to install objective carcase measurement technology in up to 90 AUS-Meat registered meat processors to help standardize carcase grading.
ACCC agriculture commissioner Mick Keogh told Fairfax Media this week the feedback period to its interim cattle and beef study report was now closed but the ACCC had received substantial feedback on the report.
Ms Carroll said MPR would produce a clearer picture of the beef supply chain costs.
That would help foster closer relationships between producers and buyers.
“It is widely known and accepted that in Australia’s beef industry, there is little transparency for the seller,” Ms Carroll said.
“The information available is historic and provides little intelligence to producers to aid in decision making.”
The ACCC was expected to release its final cattle and beef market study report before March.
The Australian Beef Association this week called for the ACCC to be given more power to collect information in the wake of identifying 10-year-old data in the interim report on the percentage of the retail beef dollar producers receive.