Cattle inquiry ongoing

VICTORIAN Nationals’ Senator Bridget McKenzie expects the final report of a Senate standing committee examining the extent of anti-competitive practices in live beef cattle market will be released in December.

Senator McKenzie pushed the Senate to establish the inquiry following a boycott by leading buyers and buyers’ agents of the inaugural sale at the Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange near Barnawartha in February last year.

A number of Australia’s largest meat processors were pressing farmers to agree to the introduction of post-sale weighing at the NVLX and many producers believe the boycott amounted to an abuse of market power.

The Senate rural and regional affairs references committee released an interim report of its examination early in May.

Interim recommendations included the introduction of transparent pricing mechanism at livestock saleyards, a national price disclosure and reporting system, legislated prohibition of anti-competitive practices that hinder price transparency, and establishment of a livestock agent registration and training system.

“We put out an interim report knowing the election was going to be called,” Senator McKenzie told the Chronicle in Wangaratta on Thursday.

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