Levy changes

By Country News

A move towards a direct membership model for Cattle Council of Australia is a step closer after the recent announcement of changes to levy expenditure.

Legislative amendments to the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 were introduced in Federal Parliament last week following industry feedback.

The changes also come on the back of findings of two Senate inquiries into industry structures and systems governing agricultural levies.

The amendments will allow levy payer information to be provided to research and development corporations and prescribed industry representative bodies for specific purposes, subject to approval by the secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Cattle Council of Australia congratulated Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on the initiative, saying it was a great outcome for the industry and CCA.

Australian beef producers have called for better identification of levy payers, with CCA lobbying strongly for the introduction to ensure prescribed industry bodies have access to levy payer contact details for specific purposes.

CCA chief executive officer Jed Matz said the information would improve the transparency of the industry voting systems.

Mr Matz said the levy payer register afforded peak industry bodies an accurate profile of the industry.

‘‘This will have multiple benefits such as improved disease management and prevention, improved extension services, more targeted communication and policy,’’ he said.

‘‘The biggest win here is that Cattle Council will now have access to a database of all levy payers so we can communicate directly with the people we are representing.

‘‘This is a major step forward in Cattle Council being able to move towards a direct membership model and may possibly have positive implications for the council’s financial options.

‘‘Cattle Council is exploring alternative funding options to ensure its valued industry advocacy, policy and strategic roles are secured.’’