ACCC launches market study into cattle and beef industry

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th April 2016

CowsThe Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be commencing a market study into the Australian cattle and beef industry.

The study will examine competition, efficiency, transparency and trading issues in the beef and cattle supply chain.

Key issues to be covered by the study include:

  • Competition between buyers of cattle, and suppliers of processed meat to downstream customers
  • The implications of saleyard attendees bidding on behalf of multiple buyers
  • Impediments to greater efficiency, such as bottlenecks or market power at certain points along the supply chain
  • Differences in bargaining strength, and the allocation of commercial risk between cattle producers and buyers
  • The transparency of carcase pricing and grading methods
  • Seeking information on the share of profits among the cattle and beef production, processing and retailing sectors
  • Barriers to entry and expansion in cattle processing markets

The Chairman of the ACCC, Mr Rod Sims, said competition and consumer issues in the agriculture sector are a priority for the ACCC.

“The cattle and beef market study is the first of several agricultural market studies that the ACCC will conduct over the coming years,” Sims said.

“A number of ACCC Commissioners and I will be closely involved in the market study, including at the public forums,” he said.

Confidential submissions will be accepted

The ACCC says it is accepting information through written and oral submissions. It will also be holding public forums in regional areas across Australia. Confidential submissions will be accepted.

Newly appointed ACCC agribusiness commissioner Mick Keogh said the ACCC understood some individuals may fear retribution from commercial partners for speaking out.

“The ACCC will release an issues paper later this week, which will provide detailed information on the scope of the study and how interested parties can participate,” said Keogh.

“The dates and locations of the consultation forums will be announced on the ACCC’s website next month,” he said.

The ACCC will analyse information collected from submissions and forums and will publish draft findings for further comment in September 2016 if the study is running to its expected schedule. A final report is then expected to be published in November 2016.