Constitution change off the agenda

Melissa WilliamsCountryman
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Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has deferred changing its constitution until it undertakes wider industry consultation about the proposed restructure of its operations.

A proposal by Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) to overhaul the council to include directly-elected producers with voting rights based on herd size was rejected at CCA's annual meeting in Longreach last week.

And the council did not enshrine its own proposed restructure plans into the constitution at the annual meeting either.

Instead, a sub-committee has been formed to consult with all industry stakeholders about the best future structure for the council and to investigate a range of funding options.

New CCA chairman Andrew Ogilvie said the overall goal was to have a lean, efficient organisation that covered all core activities and had input from all industry sectors.

"In the next few months the new sub- committee will engage with a wide range of players to ascertain what future structure of CCA best suits the industry, can be adequately funded and resourced and can be delivered given funding and statutory constraints," he said.

Mr Ogilvie, a beef producer from South Australia, said funding was a key issue for CCA and a range of models and options would be investigated that fitted current statutory constraints.

He said it was decided at the council's annual meeting to formalise several task forces that had been operating to mirror the business units within Meat and Livestock Australia and debate specific core CCA issues, including research, development, animal health and trade access.

These task forces will be chaired by a state farming organisation (SFO) member of CCA.

CCA also voted last week to replace its May 2012 traditional full council meeting with a smaller board meeting. This board will comprise one member from each SFO, including representatives from WAFarmers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA).

This is in line with CCA's proposed restructure goal to streamline the body's operations, governance and membership and make a clearer distinction between its board and policy council.

It has been proposed that voting strengths and annual subscriptions for each SFO will be determined and reviewed by this board.

WA Farmers and the PGA said they were satisfied with the pace of change at CCA, the formation of a smaller board and the continuation of the task forces.

WAFarmers meat section president Jeff Murray was at the CCA meeting and said continuing to have SFO representation at the peak body was vital to strengthen all farmer organisations and deliver better outcomes for cattle producers than having directly-elected representatives.

PGA CCA representative David Lovelock also attended the CCA annual meeting and agreed that the SFO model was best for CCA and Sheepmeat Council of Australia. But he conceded funding was problematic.

He welcomed the formation of a sub-committee to investigate future structure and funding options.

Mr Lovelock said the Red Meat Advisory Council also met last week and delegates at that meeting recognised the necessity of additional funding for CCA and SCA.

He said one solution debated at that meeting was using part of the red meat levy collected by Government to distribute to the peak councils.

Such a proposal would need to be put to the Federal Government and was an option that could be further explored by the CCA sub committee, according to Mr Ogilvie.

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