High stakes for MLA voters

27 Aug, 2003 10:00 PM

SHEEPMEAT producers were urged to make their votes count at the Meat and Livestock Australia annual general meeting in Perth on November 19.

All MLA members were allocated a single vote but producers who paid more transaction levies in the 2002-03 financial year were entitled to more votes.

Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) president Bill Whitehead said the sheep and lamb transaction levy based on a percentage of sale prices would provide producers with increased voting power at the Perth AGM.

"The previous year has seen price increases, which in turn, has increased the amount of levy paid by sheepmeat producers," Mr Whitehead said.

"These increased levy payments can translate into an increased say at the MLA AGM in November this year, provided members completed and returned their Levies Notice to MLA by September 5."

MLA had about 30,000 members and a recent count showed that only a little more than 9pc had returned their levy notices to secure full voting entitlements.

The MLA meeting will be proceeded by the SCA AGM, which is likely to address the increasing reserves of lamb levies that had accumulated from a higher turnoff and higher prices over the past few years.

A discussion paper will be presented at the SCA meeting with a possible vote on the levies at next year's MLA AGM.

At the end of the 2001-02 year lamb levy reserves were at $14 million and the SCA had asked MLA for an update for 2002-03.

Increased volatility of lamb markets during the past few years accompanied by continued strong demand and higher prices had contributed to the over healthy lamb reserve kitty.

Lamb prices had also not been affected by higher turnoff.

Lamb transaction levies were set at 2pc and capped at $1.50 when lambs reached $75 a head.

A review of funding is expected to look more closely at matching levies to program-funding requirements.

For more details on securing their full voting rights at the MLA AGM producers should phone 1800 675 717.

The AGM is being held on Wednesday, November 19 in Perth.


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