As the festive season approaches, I find myself reflecting on the journey we’ve navigated together at the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC). It’s been a year marked by challenges and triumphs, and as I look back and assess the year that was, I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished.
This year, the industry has faced a complex and diverse range of challenges. From the intricacies of retail meat pricing, the thawing of trade relations with China, which culminated in the significant reinstatement of export approvals for three meat export processors with hopes of more to follow and being able to help broker a solution for our NSW members on the disposal of meat co-products in the state when the sole renderer was facing closure. These are just some of the wins we have had this year and are a testament to the tenacity and commitment of our team and members.
Our industry’s excellence has been further highlighted through the success of various key events and competitions. Our retail engagement program consisting of State Sausage King and Best Butchers Burger competition as well as the ever-growing Apprentice of the Year competition was an amazing effort by our retail team and winners of these state competitions will compete at that Nationals in QLD in February. Then we had The Australian Charcuterie Excellence Awards and the Meat Processing and Export Conference (MPEC). Each of these programs stood out as beacons of our industry’s importance, creativity and adaptability. The engagement and participation in these events have not only celebrated our achievements but have highlighted to all the vital role the red meat industry plays in this country.
Another standout event that came later on in the year was the member engagement week in Western Australia which saw myself and AMIC’s general managers visit our members to connect in person to hear their ideas and concerns. This culminated in a wonderful engagement evening in Perth. Joined by WA Agriculture and Food Minister, Jackie Jarvis, this event invited all Western Australian AMIC Members to come together and captured the spirit of our industry – diverse, collaborative, and forward-thinking. These gatherings are crucial in understanding and addressing the needs and concerns of our members, and I look forward to taking this program to other states in the coming year.
This year also saw the election of our new board and councils which marks a new chapter for AMIC. I am very excited to work with the new Board and Councils in propelling our recently launched strategic plan forward that sets the direction for AMIC for the next three years. Our team and staff members have shown exceptional dedication in integrating the objectives set out in the strategic plan into their daily work, driving us towards a future that is both sustainable and prosperous. I thank all the retiring councillors and board members for their contributions, in particular outgoing AMIC Chair, Mr. Gary Hardwick.
We had a major win in the industrial relations space this year with the Federal Court ruling in the industry’s favour, which determined that an employee at Conroy’s Smallgoods did not have an entitlement to long service leave upon their resignation. This was a major win for the Australian Meat Industry Council and all our members as employers are no longer at risk of being held liable for supposed non-payments to employees.
As recent as yesterday, AMIC had a win for our members with regard to the Meat Industry Award C14 classification. The AMIEU has been seeking the reduction or the removal of this clause in the Award. Our team has been active in defending our members to ensure that any changes to the award are managed in line with industry needs and longevity. The C14 classification remains in place saving a significant cost to our members and industry.
Our advocacy for all our members has been relentless and impactful. Whether it was addressing the challenges posed by the illegal activities of animal activists or representing our members’ interests at the state and federal levels on a huge variety of topics be it, industrial relations and workforce, biosecurity, retail pricing, trade and much more, we’ve ensured that the voice of the Australian meat industry is heard loud and clear.
As we look towards 2024, I am confident that we will continue to propel the Australian meat industry to new heights.
Before we step into the new year, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to every member of the AMIC team. Your hard work and dedication are the pillars of our success. To our members, your continuous support and collaboration are what makes AMIC one of the most respected peak industry councils in the country.
I wish you and your family a safe and merry Christmas. This is a time for us to recharge and to cherish our loved ones, and to prepare for the exciting opportunities that await us in the new year.
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Meat Industry Council