Farmers disappointed at MLA's WA closure

26 Oct, 2014 02:00 AM
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WAFarmers meat section president Jeff Murray said, while MLA's announcement was disappointing, he hoped to see it re-open some time soon.
It's disappointing from a WA producers perspective, that the office has closed
WAFarmers meat section president Jeff Murray said, while MLA's announcement was disappointing, he hoped to see it re-open some time soon.

MEAT and Livestock Australia (MLA) has announced it will be closing the doors of its Perth office.

WAFarmers meat section president Jeff Murray said, while the announcement was disappointing, he hoped to see it re-open some time soon.

"Let's hope we are not too far away from Sydney," Mr Murray said.

"It's disappointing from a WA producers perspective, that the office has closed.

"We can see MLA is trying to be as frugal as they can with our levy funds, and we will have to see how it all pans out."

MLA central marketing and industry insights general manager Michael Edmonds said MLA would no longer have Statewide outlets when the Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide offices close.

"MLA has undergone a restructure to deliver the significant change required to deliver greater value to levy payers and reflect declining levy revenue," Mr Edmonds said.

"MLA has decided to streamline its investment in the domestic market and focus on fewer larger activities that have more impact.

"MLA will no longer be undertaking State-based visits to retailer and wholesaler outlets, or State-based retailer promotions.

“As a result, eight positions are no longer required within the domestic marketing team, including the WA State-based program manager.”

Mr Murray said the change meant the WA industry might be more likely to miss out on opportunities with beef buyers.

"They did work with chefs to sell more beef," Mr Murray said.

"The domestic market is still our best market for red meat product.

"I hope we don't miss out on opportunities. The biggest issue we may have is the time difference."

Mr Murray said he would advocate MLA re-employ a WA representative, as soon as possible.

"This is mainly because of the long distance and time difference there is in Sydney to the WA industry," Mr Murray said.

"We have to recognised that MLA is going through a period of restructure, and that may take some time.

"But I hope there will be good outcomes."

Mr Edmonds said domestic marketing activity will continue through centrally-driven programs.

"There was only one staff member in WA and the move came as a reduction of levy revenue and the need to prioritise export markets," Mr Edmonds said.

"MLA believes the best way to service all levy payers, including those in WA, from a marketing perspective is to have a centralised approach."

Mr Edmonds said MLA will streamline its investment in the domestic market, increasing the value of red meat sales by supporting the whole red meat system.

"Priority for levy-payers will be about consumer-facing activity that promotes the positive and negates negative messages on beef and lamb," Mr Edmonds said.

"This will involve leveraging consumer marketing programs at point of sale, supplemented with channel specific activity."

Mr Edmonds said while the Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide offices will close, MLA will continue to invest in marketing initiatives around to influence Australian consumer's choices.

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