Terms of reference
On 19 March 2008, the following matter was referred to the Senate
Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport for inquiry and
report by 4 September 2008:
Concerns in relation to meat marketing, with particular
reference to the need for effective supervision of national standards and
controls and the national harmonisation of regulations applying to the branding
and marketing of meat.
Conduct of inquiry
Following the referral of the inquiry, the committee advertised the
reference in the Australian on 26 March 2008. The committee also wrote
to a number of key stakeholders inviting submissions. The committee received 69
written submissions from state and federal government departments, key
organisations and stakeholder groups and individuals. A list of written
submissions is included at Appendix 1.
The submissions received raised a number of issues in relation to meat
- incidents of hogget and/or mutton being substituted for lamb;
- the use of dentition as the primary determinant of animal as
- the need for uniform domestic meat branding, grading, quality and
- the need for a uniform approach to the labelling of imported meat
products – specifically pork.
Scope of the inquiry
While the committee's terms of reference relate to meat marketing
generally, the committee decided to focus the inquiry, in the first instance,
on issues relating to lamb marketing, particularly in light of concerns that
some processors are substituting hogget and young sheep for lamb. Organisations
and individuals who had provided submissions were advised of the committee's
decision in this regard.
The committee notes that submissions to the inquiry have raised a range
of similar issues in relation to the marketing of other meat products. The
committee intends to extend its inquiry to consider these issues. The committee
proposes to table a final report by 30 June 2009.
The committee held public hearings in Canberra on 10 June and 9 July 2008. It heard evidence from a number of witnesses, including representatives of the
Sheepmeat Council of Australia, the Australian Meat Industry Council, Meat and
Livestock Australia Limited, AUS-MEAT, a number of NSW meat processors, and
three state authorities – the NSW Food Authority, SafeFood Production
Queensland and the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority.
Officers from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and
the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service provided evidence at the 10 June
hearing and an officer from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
appeared at the 9 July hearing. A complete list of the witnesses who appeared
at the hearings is included at Appendix 2.
The relevant submissions and the Hansard transcripts of the
committee's hearing/s are available on the parliament's homepage at http://www.aph.gov.au.
The committee appreciates the time and work of all those who provided
oral and written submissions to the inquiry. Their work has assisted the
committee considerably in its inquiry.
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