ONLY 25 responses had been received to a feedback survey on Australia’s first Sheep Sustainability Framework up to this week.
There are an estimated 32,000 sheep producing operations in Australia and chair of the Sheep Sustainability Steering Group, Professor Bruce Allworth, said the feedback was very disappointing.
“And it’s not only about sheep producers, we are wanting comments from people further down the pipeline, not just the industry.”
Consultation on the draft framework – either by submission or a survey — closes on 9 December, 2020, so that the document can be finalised ahead of the official launch prior to April 2021.
Professor Allworth said this is the last chance for feedback from the public on the framework.
“The next stage is finalisation by the steering group in light of comments received from this consultation.”
Professor Allworth said the steering group had consulted widely among the main organisations in the sheep meat and fibre supply chains – from grower, processor and animal welfare bodies to retailers — but lots more feedback was needed from individuals, including processors and customers.
“Maybe the difficulty is we have done a lot of consultation apart from the public process, so maybe people feel they have already been consulted and we’ve had their input, though I would have thought we would have got more than 25 (survey responses).
“We’re actually looking for feedback from individuals from any of the organisations we’ve consulted with.
“If I wanted to put a really positive spin on this, the fact that we are getting very few engagements means that people are very comfortable with framework and are fully supportive of it, but you would like to hear that in survey form,” he said.
“We would like to hear from people out there who feel that they haven’t been consulted and haven’t had their say – because in the end it’s their framework, it’s not mine it’s not yours.
“We want them to own it — this is their chance.”
Industry trying desperately to get engagement
Sheep Producers of Australia chief executive officer Stephen Crisp said the framework that would map out the sustainability of the industry, including environmental and profitability factors.
“If they think it is just about environmental issues, they might not be as engaged.”
Mr Crisp said the framework will inform how producers’ levy dollars are spent.
“It maps out the framework that will inform the strategies for Meat & Livestock Australia and Animal Health Australia and will influence where levy dollars are spent, no doubt.”
Mr Crisp said the industry is trying desperately to get engagement on the framework.
Peak wool grower representative body, WoolProducers Australia has also reminded sheep and wool producers and industry stakeholders to have their say on the framework.
WoolProducers president Ed Storey said the framework is aimed at providing transparency around key facets of Australia’s unique sheep and wool production and supply chain attributes.
WPA said the framework will identify sustainability priorities and will evidence industry progress against these priorities through metrics around key indicators. It will outline industry’s commitment to sustainability through four key themes of caring for sheep, enhancing the environment and climate, caring for people, customers and communities, and ensuring a financially sustainable industry.
“As an industry driven mechanism, the Framework will help identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, which we can then collectively use as an opportunity to prove our sustainability credentials to both domestic and international customers,” Mr Storey said.
“It is therefore imperative that producers and stakeholders get involved in this consultation to ensure that we as an industry are setting the narrative around these issues.
“Generally speaking, we have a great story to tell so we need to stand by our production practices and demonstrate to the world that we are a sustainable industry,” he said.
To have your say on the Sheep Sustainability Framework click here.