Research & Development

MLA’s $300m operating budget for 2024/25: How will it be spent?

Jon Condon July 1, 2024

INDUSTRY service delivery company Meat & Livestock Australia has released its annual investment plan for the 2024-25 year ahead.

The report (click here to access) proposes expenditure of just short of $300 million across research and development, market development and marketing activities across 16 program areas.

In terms of sheer dollar value, the largest of those 16 program areas in 2024-25 will be:

  • International markets ($43.7m, vs $41.5m in the current financial year, ending Sunday)
  • Integrity systems ($33m, versus $31.5m this year)
  • On-farm productivity ($31.5m Vs $30.3m)
  • Environmental sustainability ($27.9m, Vs $38.3m)
  • Domestic Markets (mostly marketing, $25.2m Vs $24.1m)
  • Producer adoption ($23.8m Vs $30.3m)
  • Off-farm productivity (mostly processing, $22.9m, Vs $29.3m)
  • Corporate Services ($20.3m Vs $18.6m).

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Most grogram areas are slightly better financed than this year, with the exception of off-farm productivity and environmental sustainability. Worth noting, the current financial year ending Sunday was a considerably larger budget due to levy revenue streams, at $327.8m Vs $299.9m next year.

See full list of expenditure for 2024-25 by program category in this table.

Major funding sources for next year’s operating budget will include government R&D co-funding ($93.7m), grass-fed cattle levies ($55.6m), grain-fed cattle levies ($15.8m), sheep levies ($39m), Australian Meat Processor Corporation ($26.5m) and external funding sources (mostly research – $67.6m).

In the report, MLA says it will target investment to address the industry’s big, complex challenges.

“We will focus on prioritising which challenges to address by the impact they could deliver for the industry,” it says.

“MLA’s starting point will be exploring mechanisms to optimise resources and address seasonal and climate variability and will continue its focus on meeting the expectations of customers, consumers and the community around animal health, animal welfare and environmental stewardship.

Part of this will involve a focused and targeted investment portfolio with increased investment in and explore new approaches to producer adoption around areas such as adaption to climate variability, reproduction, mortality and objective measurement.

MLA will also invest in the strengthening of industry integrity systems, demonstrating the important role of red meat in a sustainable food system.

Data and insights to inform decisions

MLA would focus on transitioning to a culture that captures and shares data across every point in the supply chain, the report said.

“This will enable the identification of the highest value opportunities and a shared understanding of challenges that need addressing. Collectively, we can then make more informed, strategic decisions and align responses for greatest impact.”

As part of this, MLA plans to prioritise investments that allow for the seamless transfer of information through a national data platform, and invest in people, providing them with the skills and confidence to interpret and use integrated data to drive their decision making.

Beyond today’s farm gate, MLA plans to focus on balancing the current ‘known’ challenges and opportunities and anticipating the future issues industry will face.

“MLA needs to foster a culture that looks both to the future and to adjacent industries to inform today’s decision making,” it said.

This will include capturing and applying valuable insights from beyond the farm gate and outside the food sector in order to mitigate risks and enhance sustainability and global competitiveness.

MLA prepares an Annual Investment Plan each financial year to guide the practical delivery of the industry service delivery company’s long-term investment priorities and outcomes, which are set out in its Strategic Plan 2025 and align with the Federal Government’s science and research priorities, and its rural research, development and extension priorities.


Click here to access the full report


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