AUSTRALIA’S beef industry is set to go through a major transformation with the establishment of a new company to be owned by its dairy farmers.
The Australian Livestock Industry Association (ALIA) said the move would allow the country to “grow its own beef” and “continue to be a leader in agricultural innovation”.
The group, which represents more than 3,000 dairy farmers, said the introduction of the new company would provide an opportunity for “big companies” to “better invest” in the industry.
It said it would also “ensure the safety and quality of Australian beef”.
The announcement follows the announcement earlier this year by the Federal Government that it was scrapping the controversial import quota system and instead “restricting access to the Australian market” for domestic and imported beef.
“It is the industry’s best chance to get its supply and prices down and it’s an opportunity to continue to grow its own cattle,” Mr Rolfe said.
The announcement comes amid rising tensions between Australia’s dairy industry and the Government over its beef quotas system, which has resulted in protests from dairy farmers and animal welfare groups.
“The Government has made a big decision to abolish the current beef quotas in Australia and the only way to do that is to take away the cattle quotas themselves, and that is what the ALIA is working on,” Mr Rhoee said in a statement.
“I think we are now seeing the fruits of the ALMA’s hard work in the dairy industry.”
The new company, which will be called Beef Innovation Australia, will be formed by “a team of world-class business leaders and industry experts”, according to the ALIRA.
The group said it will invest $10 million to expand its workforce, build a “stronger and more efficient” website and create a research and development office in Melbourne.
Mr Rhuee said the new organisation would be based in Melbourne and “will be able to take its lead from the global beef industry”.
“The Australian beef industry will grow and become stronger as a result of the Australian beef initiative,” he said.
“In the coming years, it will be able create a stronger and more sustainable supply chain for Australian beef producers.”
The announcement was met with opposition from the Dairy Farmers of Australia, which said it wanted the government to “back off” and put an end to the quota system.
“Australia’s beef industry has been in crisis for over a decade, with a government that is completely beholden to its dairy dairy farmers has put its own interests ahead of the welfare of our cattle,” said DFA president Paul Hirst.
“If the Government is serious about making sure we can grow our own beef and not import it from other countries, then it should listen to the voices of the dairy farmers of Australia.”
“We urge the Government to put its money where its mouth is and scrap the current quotas, which have been used to exploit Australian cattle producers, and to focus on the future of Australian cattle,” he added.
Mr Hirst said he would also support a “flexible and progressive” beef quotas scheme that could “be implemented quickly and effectively”.
He said the DFA’s support for the beef industry “reflects the strong support we have for the dairy and beef industry from the dairy sector, and is consistent with our views”.
The Government has previously said it wants to abolish beef quotas because of the “irresponsible” import system, but has faced criticism for not doing so.
Earlier this year, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said that if the quota scheme was not scrapped, the industry would be “dead” and the beef market “dead”.
“If we don’t scrap quotas, we will have the highest beef prices in the world,” he told reporters.
“And that’s going to be disastrous for the industry.”
Mr Rhiee said that the move was necessary because Australia “has a massive meat industry”.
He also said the Government should have considered whether a different system of quotas was better for Australian meat producers.
“We are a meat exporter, but our meat exports are dwarfed by our beef exports,” he says.
“There are so many opportunities for our beef producers.
They have got a huge amount of capacity to do this.”
The ALIA said that while the move to a new firm would create more competition in the market, it would “provide certainty to the industry” by ensuring it had “a secure and viable supply chain”.
The move comes after the announcement by the Government earlier this month that it is scrapping its controversial import quotas system and opted instead to “restrict access to a market for Australian cattle”.
“A new entity will ensure a safe and efficient market for domestic cattle in Australia,” Mr Dave Rolfes said.
Mr Ralfe said it was important for Australia to “build on its existing position in the global marketplace”.
“It will give Australia a more secure supply chain, which is the key to our future success as a beef exp