April & May mark the start of ‘official’ talks with industry about the proposal to replace their compulsory state based R&D levy with a new national levy.
a) Australian oyster growers have agreed on priorities, some that can’t be addressed under existing levy structures.
Its five main objectives are;
- identify national RD&E goals and objectives,
- commission and manage RD&E projects,
- lead industry to promote Australian oysters,
- work with chain partners to improve industry outcomes, and
- establish appropriate national governance arrangements.
Oysters Australia wants a good report card for delivering against what growers want.
b) Existing levies have various mechanisms, specific functions and a national levy is more efficient. For example, Oysters Australia has no way of resourcing growers from each state (flights, phone calls, meeting costs, etc) to make national management decisions on how to respond to a disease like POMS. The oyster research and development dollar is confined to research.
c) A national levy still involves state industry agreement and control and all states would have equitable contribution
What’s the process?
Oysters Australia is proposing to work with its 6 state member bodies to establish an equitable and efficient national levy so that it can continue to invest in RD&E, so that it can manage national risks and market opportunities. The Oysters Australia Board has agreed to pursue a national levy, but now begins consultation with growers before formalising ‘heads of state agreement’ and a ballot process.
You can find out more about the proposal at the regional grower meetings