Peak woolgrower representative body WoolProducers Australia has reiterated their recommendation to eligible wool levy payers to vote for 1.5% in this year’s WoolPoll.
With voting open until 5 November, WoolProducers are urging levy payers to not only vote for 1.5% but to exercise their preferences to really make their vote count.
WoolProducers President Mr Ed Storey said, “The voting system for WoolPoll is an optional preferential system, meaning that levy payers are recommended to put a ‘one’ in the 1.5% levy rate option and then put the numbers two through to five, in the other levy rate boxes in your preferred order”.
“It is very important to do this to ensure that your vote doesn’t expire if the ballot goes to preferences like it did in 2018 and remember that if you do not want to increase the levy you should direct your preferences below the status quo. This will ensure that your vote has the most impact.” Mr Storey said.
AWI have claimed they need an increase in levy to fund R&D for the flystrike vaccine, lobbying the EU for fair labelling laws for wool, shearer and wool handler training, increasing wool’s use and marketing campaigns for the Northern Hemisphere.
Mr Storey said, “AWI are dedicating a lot of resources to try and influence growers to increase the levy by stating that they will not be able to able to fund basic R&D and marketing functions if there is no increase in the levy”.
“However, let’s not forget that this is the same organisation whose former Chair in 2018, told the Senate Committee that if 1.5% got up in that years WoolPoll, that their own figures indicated that AWI would be ‘technically insolvent’ – the $106 million in reserves as reported in this year’s Voter Information Memorandum (VIM), shows that that was nothing more than a scare tactic”. Mr Storey said.
“It is very hard for AWI to argue for a levy increase when they have continued to invest in things like WoolQ, which has cost around $6.4 million and to date has delivered very little benefit to growers”.
At 1.5% woolgrowers are still paying one of the biggest compulsory levies of all agricultural producers, other commodities such as grains pay around 1%, while red meat producers have a cap on the leviable amount and are currently paying a fraction of what their wool counterparts are.
“Many of these other commodities are seeing growth and return on investment for levy payers while receiving a much smaller levy rate percentage than what woolgrowers are currently paying”.
“1.5% provides AWI with enough money to conduct industry research, development and marketing, this amount has served the industry in recent times as highlighted in both the VIM and AWIs so called ‘Growers Document’, which spruiks AWIs achievements over the past three years. We can see no genuine reason for a levy increase”. Mr Storey said.
WoolPoll is a triennial vote undertaken by eligible wool growers to determine the amount of their wool cheque that goes towards research, development and marketing which is administered by AWI.
WoolProducers Australia contacts:
Jo Hall, CEO
02 6110 2067
Ed Storey, President
0438 309 500
About WoolProducers’ Australia WoolProducers plays a critical role in working closely with companies and entities funded by woolgrower funds including compulsory levies or fees for service.
Its mission is to develop constructive and profitable outcomes for woolgrowers nationally.
The agency is responsible for appointing a director to each of the Australian Wool Exchange and the Australia Wool Testing Authority, promoting good corporate governance and ensuring that the interests of growers are met.
WoolProducers maintains a working relationship with Australian Wool Innovation as the voice of woolgrower shareholders. It aims to contribute to AWI’s programs for the benefit of growers, promoting responsible use of levy funds and ensuring good corporate governance.
WoolProducers is the sole wool industry member of Animal Health Australia, and as such, carries a significant responsibility for decision making on behalf of the industry in the event of an emergency animal disease outbreak.
As the only wool grower organisation with membership of the National Farmers’ Federation, WoolProducers is responsible for providing key policy advice on behalf of our members, and other wool growers, to Australia’s peak farm body.
WoolProducers also works closely with the Federal Government Departments on key issues such as animal health and welfare, biosecurity, pest management control, natural resource management, drought preparedness, emergency animal disease outbreak preparedness and industry development, including research, trade and logistics.