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Reliable information is essential to red meat industry productivity: ACCC

The future growth and profitability of the red meat sector in Australia relies on the investment confidence of its participants, but this confidence will be threatened if market information is restricted, or livestock producers are unable to obtain objective performance data, ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh told the MLA Red Meat Industry Forum in Alice Springs today.

Mr Keogh noted that recent events in the cattle industry that meant that even basic market information such as weekly slaughter numbers were unavailable for a period, raised concerns about the transparency and future competitiveness of the cattle industry.

“The decision by some to reduce, rather than improve, market reporting was short sighted, and could be detrimental to confidence along the entire value chain. This will be a focus of our review of progress on the ACCC Beef and cattle market study recommendations, that we will conduct early next year,” said Mr Keogh.

Improving the availability and comprehensiveness of market information  and data from objective carcase measurements, were key recommendations in the ACCC’s Cattle and beef market study, released in March 2017.

Mr Keogh identified the critical role information and data will play in achieving the productivity growth Australian producers needed to remain internationally competitive.

“Critically important factors in maintaining the necessary industry confidence to make these investments are the transparency of market information, and the robustness of rules governing market behaviour.”

“Whether they are aware of it or not, those seeking to restrict market information flows and reduce the availability of objective performance data in Australian livestock industries are really attempting to consign the livestock industries to a stagnant future,” said Mr Keogh.

A copy of Mr Keogh’s speech is available at Information is the key to red meat competition, productivity and growth.

The review of progress on the Beef and cattle market study recommendations will be conducted in 2018.