Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC)
The Voice of Australia’s Meat Industry
Business View Oceania interviews Patrick Hutchinson, CEO of Australian Meat Industry Council, for our Food and Beverage View.
The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) is Australia’s peak industry body representing meat retailers, processors, and smallgoods manufacturers across the country. The organisation exists to help their members achieve and maintain profitability, efficiency, and sustainability in the face of dynamic, everchanging markets. AMIC’s importance has never been as clear to members as it is today, in the wake of significant industry challenges. AMIC says, “We’re here to be a powerful voice for our industry. We’re here to ensure our members are recognised for the crucial role they play in the agribusiness supply chain. We’re here to support our members to continue creating jobs in Australia, and to continue to feed the Australian economy.”
As the only association representing Australia’s post farmgate red meat sector, AMIC provides a number of unique and crucial benefits to their 1,500 members. Three annual memberships categories are on offer: Processor (domestic and export processors, wholesalers, and non-packer exporters), Retail (small, large, regional, and metropolitan independent retail butchers), and Smallgoods (smallgoods product manufacturers and retailers). Prices are based on the number of employees within a business and their membership category, to ensure fairness and equity remain a priority. AMIC speaks passionately on a number of issues facing the industry, including access to labour, animal welfare, food regulation, market access, biosecurity, shipping, logistics, and freight. Supporting this voice and making moves towards change are three councils: the National Processor Council, National Retail Council, and National Smallgoods Council. Each council features a number of Internal Reference Committees designed to focus on specific areas of improvement within their respective sector.
Patrick Hutchinson is CEO of the team of 20 at AMIC. He begins, “Our organisation follows the custodians of Australian meat from the moment it leaves the farm gate to its final sale for consumption. That includes processors, wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers, and smallgoods. We conservatively estimate that we represent about 50,000 FTEs throughout the value chain. Our first meeting was back in the early 1900s, and we’ve operated under many different iterations since that time, but our core purpose has remained the same. Our current AMIC model was formed in 2003 with the blending of what were called the Australian Meat Council and National Meat Association. Rather than having one national body for domestic and the other for export, we decided to present a united front and a single voice for both areas of the industry.”
AMIC defines their mission as, “To increase the profitability of our members through advocacy, innovation, and delivery of services,” and their vision as, “A profitable and sustainable Australian post farmgate red meat supply chain, valued by the wider community.” Values are clearly listed on the association’s website in accordance with their views on transparency: Integrity, Collaboration, Influence, Excellence, and Community. Mr. Hutchinson weighs in, “Our key commitments are to our membership services, lobbying and advocacy programs, issue management councils and committees, relationships with other industry bodies, and engagement events. We have a very broad footprint for a broad industry whose sales now top around 35 billion dollars a year, of which 19 billion is export and 17 billion is domestic.”
There are a number of challenges facing Australia’s meat industry custodians today, including supply chain disruptions and workforce shortages. “Our members work in all protein areas except chicken and seafood,” Mr. Hutchinson says. “The number one issue for these sectors is a shortage of labour. This problem was made even clearer during pandemic lockdowns- we saw meat off the shelves in supermarkets, prices skyrocketed, and freight and logistics became a bit of a nightmare. We supplement our domestic workforce with international workers. Obviously, with the borders closed, we lost that opportunity. What we would like to see moving forward is greater recognition of our workers as essential to the Australian ecosystem, through a dedicated meat supply chain Visa program that includes roles from processing to butchery and everything in between. This will make sure we can fill domestic gaps with international staff across skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled areas. The great thing about our industry is we offer everybody a job, from engineers, food scientists, health and nutrition, marketing… Everyone has a home in the meat supply chain industry.”
In making sure their commitment to collaboration is met, AMIC works regularly with aligned industry bodies, including the National Farmer’s Federation, Council of Small Business Organisation, Australian Meat Processing Corporation, Australian Pork Ltd, and Meat and Livestock Australia. Mr. Hutchinson shares, “We don’t want one voice, we want thousands and thousands of voices, speaking one message across the entire nation- to community, to government, and to industry. That is why we partner with likeminded organisations to work towards common goals and develop a network of experts, professionals, and advocates.”
Future goals for AMIC include increasing profitability of members, providing a leading voice on industry issues, growing membership and engagement, increasing innovation and continuous improvement, and developing strong relationships that benefit members. Mr. Hutchinson concludes, “We want to remain representative of the number one agricultural export from Australia, and to ensure that our nation remains the most sought-after meat supplier in the world. Globally, we have the highest consistency in our product. Every time somebody from anywhere around the world decides to consume Australian meat, be it lamb, beef, goat, or pork, they do so with confidence that it is the freshest, tastiest, cleanest product in the world. As a national association, it is our pride that we support those whose job it is to manage those products, and we will keep creating the necessary building blocks for our members to thrive.”
Click The Cover To View Or Download The Brochure
AT A GLANCE
Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC)
What: Peak body organisation for Australian meat retailers, processors, and smallgoods manufacturers
Where: AMIC is headquartered in Sydney, New South Wales.