Meat & Livestock Australia

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Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) represents Australia's cattle, sheep (and goat) producers.

Brexit lobbying

Meat & Livestock Australia sees Brexit as an opportunity to increase exports to the UK.

According to reports, Australia's meat industry is 'licking its lips at the prospect of a boost in exports as London scrambles to sign free-trade deals across the globe'.[1] Australian meat is currently subject to quota restrictions and tariffs, as well as some non-tariff trade barriers.

In early 2017 MLA launched a 'major campaign' to increase UK market access, including boosting its team in London and increasing its cooperation with the Australian government.[2] As part of the drive, MLA managing director Richard Norton held a series of meetings in London in April/May 2017, including with the National Farmers' Union and George Abrahams, owner of a major import/export business in London. MLA's Norton was set to return to the UK in August to lead further lobbying efforts, including talks with UK investors and others with vested interests in getting more Australian product on supermarket shelves. 'Any large UK companies or others connected with Australian red meat production could be valuable in helping get our message through, he said.[3]

This is one of the points used by MLA to support its lobbying campaign: that an increase in exports of Australian meat to the UK would benefit UK investors that own livestock-producing land in Australia. According to MLA, UK-based individuals and investment funds are by far the largest foreign investors in Australian agricultural land, holding just over half (27.5 million hectares) of the land owned by foreign investors.[4] They include big name northern beef producers such as Consolidated Pastoral Company, owned by London private equity giant Terra Firma - its vice chair is Justin King, former boss of Sainsbury's; the UK Pension Protection Fund’s investment in North Australia Pastoral Company; and the British-Australian businessman and Conservative Party donor, Michael Hintze’s MH Premium Farms’ holdings in NSW and Queensland. According to one report, almost another 1 million hectares is owned by companies registered in the British Channel Island tax haven of Jersey.[5]

MLA is considering deploying some of these 'big name' overseas landholders to help champion Australia’s export case against quota restrictions and non-quota barriers, including bans on hormone growth promotants in beef. MLA's Richard Norton said: 'We’re trying to cover all our bases and get as many people as possible talking and thinking about non-discriminatory Australian export access to the UK, and Europe'.

Brussels lobbying

MLA holds an annual 'Australian BBQ' in Brussels. Its third barbecue in Brussels was held on 28 June 2017 and according to MLA 'attracted over 600 EU parliamentarians, importers and other influencers to a traditional backyard barbie cooked by MLA executive chef Sam Burke'.

Lobbyists

People

  • Josh Anderson, MLA International Business Manager, Europe and Russia

Contacts

Website: www.mla.com.au

Notes

  1. Australian meat industry licks lips at post-Brexit Europe Business Times, 29 March 2017
  2. Export drive as Australia test fragile UK politics, Global Meat News, 7 May 2017
  3. UK investors urged to help fight our meat export battle, North Queensland Register, 24 May 2017
  4. MLA to focus on crucial UK trade and market access, 8 May 2017
  5. UK investors urged to help fight our meat export battle, North Queensland Register, 24 May 2017