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May 21, 2002

AUSTRALIA: Minister’s beef export quota model a shocker, says industry body

Australia's Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) has slammed Minister Truss' "complicated, almost-unworkable model" for applying the quota entitlement for exports of beef to the US market. Keith Adams, president of the Cattle Council of Australia and one of the six RMAC directors, admitted to be appalled at the model, which appears to ignore the "sound, unanimous advice" from RMAC.

Australia’s Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) has slammed Minister Truss’ “complicated, almost-unworkable model” for applying the quota entitlement for exports of beef to the US market.

Keith Adams, president of the Cattle Council of Australia and one of the six RMAC directors, admitted to be appalled at the model, which appears to ignore the “sound, unanimous advice” from RMAC.

“I find it difficult to believe that the Minister has ignored the unanimous advice of RMAC, a body highly experienced in quota management, in favour of advice from his staff and Department who have little if any knowledge of the vagaries of commercial reality,” he said: “While the Minister may interpret his model as retaining the essence of the RMAC proposal, nothing could be further from the truth.”

Minister Truss sought advice from RMAC, which was set up in 1998 to be industry’s advisory body to the government, on how best to design a management scheme that prevented a crash in cattle prices later in the year when the US quota of 378,214 tonnes was met.

After RMAC’s initial proposal was rejected, a simpler version was offered that, for the first time, had the unanimous support of all six Peak Industry Councils. However, this was also rejected.

Adams added that since Minister Truss’ model will only be operational for two years, “We’ll have to go through all the arguments again in June 2003!”

“The whole process has been a disgrace.”

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