New industry peak organisation to lead sheep and lamb industry

A new era of leadership in advocacy and governance for the sheep industry started yesterday as Sheep Producers Australia officially became the peak industry body for the nation’s sheep and lamb industry, replacing the former Sheepmeat Council of Australia.

The council was first established in 1978 and was wound up after nearly 40 years of representing farmers on national sheep and lamb industry issues. The change to SPA has enabled the council to modernise its operations to better serve Australian sheep producers as well as continuing to reflect contemporary governance standards.

The first Annual General Meeting of Sheep Producers Australia endorsed its five board candidates including Michael Craig, Harrow, Victoria; Jamie Heinrich, Kangaroo Island, SA; Ian McColl, Koorawatha, NSW; Bindi Murray, Woodanilling, WA; and Allan Piggott, Moorlands, SA.

At the first board meeting of directors, Mr Piggott was appointed President and a decision was made to appoint an independent chair to oversee board governance.

The new organisation was launched at an industry dinner of 70 people last night in Perth. SCA’s outgoing board members were recognised and thanked for their many years of service on behalf of the industry and its producers.

SCA President Jeff Murray thanked transitional board members who had guided the transformation process from SCA as an incorporated association to SPA as a company limited by guarantee.

These retiring members included Mr Murray, David Boyle, John Wallace, Rupert Gregg, Chris Wallace-Smith, Ron Cullen, Chris Kemp and Mark Murphy.

“It has been a pleasure to serve the Australian sheepmeat industry and I thank each of these members for their dedication to doing their best for the organisation and the industry as a whole,” Mr Murray said.

“We are leaving SCA knowing that the new organisation will better serve Australian sheep producers, reflects best practice governance standards and enables additional capacity in alternate funding and partnership models.

“It has been exciting to be part of its establishment and we look forward to seeing it increase its engagement with producers nationally.”

SPA Chief Executive Officer Kat Giles said the new organisation was committed to providing strong leadership, not only representation, for the industry’s future.

“With the launch of SPA, producers have the opportunity for their voice to be heard nationally through a professional organisation, underpinned by best-practice governance principles through a modernised constitution,” Dr Giles said.

“The new organisation has capacity for individual membership but the solid base of support from the state farming organisations has been the bedrock for many many years.

“The SFOs have guided the transition process and will play a very important role in the future of SPA. The SPA Board is advised by four Policy Committees, which will largely consist of SFO members and the next step will be to appoint those committees. They will be the engine room of policy development and discussion for SPA.

“We are working to build a productive, profitable and sustainable future for all producers, we must be leaders and find the balance between leadership and representation.”

The decision to transition from Sheepmeat Council of Australia (an incorporated association) to a new governance framework was announced following a special general meeting of the members in August. For more information on the changes, download the ‘Welcome to SPA’ Fact Sheet at www.sheepproducers.com.au/SPA_Fact_Sheet_FA.pdf.