The Meat Modernisation Program.

Throughout July and August, a Ministerial-requested working group was convened, the Meat Modernisation Working Group (MMWG) comprising of DAWE senior executives and industry representatives, met to develop a comprehensive meat modernisation plan.

Plans took into consideration the findings and recommendations of the 2019 AEMIS Review and the opportunities and challenges presented by COVID.  

David Hazlehurst, Deputy Secretary of the Department’s Agriculture Trade Group, said the modernisation of the export meat sector will be “the most comprehensive undertaken since the 2011 Australian Export Meat Inspection System (AEMIS) reforms”.

The focus of the MMWG has centred around three key objectives:

  1. Mechanisms for improving meat safety outcomes and supply chain integrity
  2. A reduction in regulatory costs without impacting regulatory compliance or market access outcomes and increasing global competitiveness and market reach
  3. Maintaining Australia’s strong global reputation for a robust and verifiable regulatory meat export system

The MMWG presented its report to Minister Littleproud for his consideration on 21 August 2020.

Following which, the government budget announcements in October included a $328 million ‘Busting Congestion for Agricultural Exporters’ measures, from 2020-21. 

The funding includes:

  • Digital Services to Take Farmers to Markets’ – this flagship $222.2m measure will visibly transform how industry engages with government. The digital platform streamlines export trade and modernises how we do business – faster, more technologically connected, more objective, and more efficient.
  • ‘Building a More Competitive Meat Industry’ – this $10.9m measure will enable modernisation of the meat export program, which is critical to keep the Australian red meat export industry globally competitive and sustainable. Playing its part in underpinning the government and agricultural industries joint vision of growing agriculture to $100bn by 2030. 
  • ‘More Efficient and Sustainable Export Regulation’ – this $71.1m measure will ensure critical export regulatory systems can be maintained and enhanced. Industry will be directly assisted through the modernisation process with a freeze on increases in fees and charges in 2020-21, and stepped increases spread through to 2023-24.

“AMIC has been at the forefront in busting congestion for agriculture exporters, building a more competitive meat industry and leading the Meat Modernisation Working Group, in the lead up to this budget announcement, with special thanks to Mr Terry Nolan, AMIC National Processor Council Chair”, says Patrick Hutchinson, CEO, AMIC.