President’s Report

 Friday, 18 October, 2013

(Download Doc PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2013 AGM)

It’s my pleasure to present the President’s Report for the operation of the National Saleyards Quality Assurance program for the past 12 months.

This has been quite an important year for NSQA with several significant developments. 

First, we launched the No Name Saleyard Quality Manual proforma which is now available to all currently non-Accredited Members to assist them to develop their QA Manual, a pre-requisite to Accreditation; whether that be full Accreditation, which we encourage, or to Certificate Two level, which provides all Members a framework to practically operate QA within their facility. 

Frankly, a saleyard that cannot achieve Certificate Two level Accreditation will increasingly find itself outside the practical involvement of saleyard selling/exchange of ownership.

Coupled with this is the Gazettal of the NSQA program with Approved Compliance status within the terms of the Victorian Livestock Management Act. This provides saleyards in Victoria with a significant benefit and recognition within the provisions of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines-Land Transport of Livestock. NSQA Accredited Victorian saleyards will no longer be subject to DEIP inspections (and likely fees), the DEIP relying on the annual third-party audit reports provided by AUSMEAT as their assurance animal welfare requirements are being met. Of course Accreditation covers a lot more than animal welfare – issues like food safety, livestock identification and traceability and occupational health

Early in the year a document “SAFEMEAT Initiatives Review” was released. Prepared initially by a consultant, completed by a Review Committee, the document was not only inaccurate in content but harsh on the saleyard industry and quality assurance compliance showing a total lack of understanding of what the saleyard sector has done to implement industry programs and establish standards, without any consultation with at least NSQA, if not the whole saleyard sector.

I am pleased to acknowledge that our concerns were accepted and a further full review of the SAFEMEAT Initiatives Review was undertaken with the draft of the final report now in circulation. It is a sharp contrast to the original document and I feel confident that with further consultation that is occurring, not only the NSQA program will be held in good stead but the willingness of saleyards to meet all aspects of industry requirements will be acknowledged.

It will now be important that the further review of SAFEMEAT provides a full consultative process for NSQA and saleyards in general.

Your Committee also noted with interest the announcement at the ALRTA Conference by the then Minister for Transport and Infrastructure of Commonwealth funding for the development of a National Livestock Loading Ramp Design Standard. Again, there has been no consultation with the saleyard sector of industry.

We shall continue to monitor this issue as we believe that such a standard fits within the NSQA program.

One pleasing event over recent months has been a number of enquiries from saleyards to join NSQA.  While we have lost some Members due to saleyard closures, we have had a new Member this year in Corowa which is proceeding to develop its QA Manual with the aim of Accreditation.

The importance of quality assurance in the market change is being recognised, particularly through the younger generation of industry personnel who are increasingly understanding of the involvement of quality assurance and best practice within the whole industry. I reflect back to the beginnings of NSQA with the recognition then that if saleyards are to maintain their rightful place in the exchange of ownership of livestock, provide producers with their best returns, then it is essential QA is fully involved.  The NSQA program provides that tool.

I would also like to congratulate Accredited Members for maintaining a high level of compliance. Unfortunately, in the past 18 months there has been one case of a Critical Non Compliance resulting in an Accreditation being cancelled.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Committee for not only their support during the year but their contribution to the affairs of NSQA.  I mentioned in my report last year that David Pollock, who had been a Director, Secretary/

Executive Officer of NSQA since the beginning of NSQA, was retiring last 30 October. He did but the Committee re-appointed him as Executive Officer in mid-January to take advantage of his experience in the industry and I thank him for his continued work in maintaining the interests of NSQA.

I would also like to thank Derek Mayall as the Ausmeat NSQA Program Manager and his team at Ausmeat for their contribution to NSQA.

The overall finances of the association remain stable. The Membership fee was increased in line with CPI.

I conclude by again saying to all Members – if you have made the effort to attain NSQA Accreditation, keep working to maintain the National Standards. To the others, I repeat the words, time for contemplating is over. Move forward and make a real effort during the year ahead.

Earl Pratt  President

18 October, 2013