The Sheepmeat Council of Australia concluded a full week of activities in Canberra on June 2 2017, incorporating a quarterly board meeting, governance training for young industry leaders and the graduation of participants in its first national leadership program.
SCA Chief Executive Officer Dr Kat Giles said one of the key topics considered by the Board was the future benefits and opportunities of an Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement (A-EUFTA).
“The EU has an ongoing import requirement for sheepmeat, but the current punitive – and disproportionately low – quota prevents our industry from responding to this demand. A comprehensive FTA offers the prospect of new trade opportunities,” Dr Giles said.
“With Australian and EU officials currently working towards the launch of formal negotiations, the Board, in conjunction with other industry stakeholders, is considering options for securing significant improvements to current access arrangements.
“In animal health and welfare, we discussed how the council could further support efforts to improve lamb survival, which is a critical element for the industry to build the sheep flock and increase overall productivity. We will continue to pursue this issue through our national networks in research, development and adoption to see change.
“Finally, we discussed the biosecurity strategy for the sheep industry and, in particular, how we can bring certain elements around the Sheep Health Monitoring Project, the Sheep MAP, and the Sheep Health Declaration together so they make a lot more sense for producers and they are able to use those tools more strategically.”
SCA President Jeff Murray said work on the SCA restructure was progressing with the aim to transition to a new organisation later in 2017.
“Our aim has been to ensure the Board and governance structures are in place to position us for the future and as work on the restructure continues, producers can be confident we are pursuing a model that will provide the industry with the leadership that is needed,” he said.
In addition to the Board meeting, SCA also hosted the final session of the Sheepmeat Industry Leadership Program and hosted a two-day governance workshop, as part of the joint SCA and Meat and Livestock Australia project, Building leadership capability for the sheep industry.
SCA Industry Leadership and Community Engagement Committee Chair Michael Craig said the leadership program, run through the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, aims to develop and retain people with leadership skills to contribute to the long-term viability of the industry.
“14 participants graduated from the course which succeeded in enhancing their leadership skills, building confidence and understanding in governance and policy, and developing new networks and friendships that will last a lifetime,” Mr Craig said.
“In addition, 15 young policy officers and sheep producers gained first-hand experience in the council’s work through the Governance in Action workshop that aimed to upskill them in the areas of advocacy, engaging with government and political representatives, personal effectiveness and social media.
“The sheep industry’s future depends on having leaders with the capacity, skills and experience to protect and promote it and as part of the project, SCA is investing in the skills base of the current and future generation of industry leaders and advocates.”
Source: Sheepmeat Council of Australia