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Australian Wool Innovation picks most diverse WoolPoll panel in 15 years

Terry Sim, March 11, 2015

WOOLPOLL2015 logo Mar10-15A call for greater diversity in Australia’s WoolPoll panel has met with success – with its gender makeup spread evenly for the first time in 15 years.

Australian Wool Innovation announced the WoolPoll 2015 panel today with its members consisting of five men and five women for the first time since the first WoolPoll in 2000.

The 2015 panel members are:

  1. Will Roberts – Panel chair, (Qld)
  2. Georgina Wallace – Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders (Tas)
  3. Richard Halliday – WoolProducers Australia (SA)
  4. Bindi Murray – Western Australian Farmers Federation (WA)
  5. Adele Offley – NSW Farmers Association (NSW)
  6. Ian Feldtmann – Victorian Farmers Federation (Vic)
  7. Robert Ingram – Australian Wool Growers Association (NSW)
  8. Syd Lawrie – Livestock SA (SA)
  9. Fran Freeman – Federal Department of Agriculture
  10. Dr Meredith Sheil – AWI board (NSW)

The WoolPoll is held every three years to allow Australia’s woolgrowers to directly determine the amount of wool levy they pay for the next three-year period, to fund wool research, development and marketing activities by AWI.

AWI said Federal Government regulations that govern the poll require AWI to consult the Wool Poll panel in the process of conducting the poll. As an independent panel of industry representatives, the WoolPoll Panel will work with AWI to endorse the voting documentation and processes, ensuring transparency and integrity throughout. The panel also plays a critical role in maximising voter participation, AWI said.

WoolPoll panel members will work closely with their respective organisations and networks to ensure the broad range of woolgrower interests are accounted for in discussions on the 2015 poll, AWI said.

Aim is to increase poll woolgrower participation

Panel chairman and Queensland woolgrower Will Roberts said he was trying to increase the number of woolgrowers participating in the 2015 WoolPoll and it was hoped the new panel would target a different network of people.

“All of the state farm bodies and the people who were asked to pout names forward have got people they network with, and we are just hoping these younger people will be networking with a different group of people.

“In 2012, the panel was successful in achieving the highest number of grower votes at the poll and we hope to again increase the voter participation at WoolPoll 2015,” he said.

2015 panel diversity ‘a great advance’

WoolPoll 2015 panel member Dr Meredith Sheil welcomed the increased diversity of the panel.

“It’s a great advance to see diversity on the panel.

“I thank the previous WoolPoll panel for the idea and congratulate Will Roberts on his choices.”

She hoped the wider diversity in the panel will appeal to a wider audience.

“I know we have a lot of women woolgrowers out there and we also are very keen to appeal to our younger woolgrowers as well; to keep them involved and hear their voice.”

She hoped the new panel would help to get younger woolgrowers to think about WoolPoll, where their levy money is going and what is being done with it.

AWI called for greater diversity in nominations

Mr Roberts said following advice from the 2012 panel, AWI asked grower groups to nominate growers from a broader cross-section of the industry to increase the diversity within the 2015 panel.

“From this group we have selected seven individuals who represent a wide range of woolgrower interests, as required in the regulations,” he said.

“All states have a representative on the panel.”

Earlier this year Mr Roberts asked state farm bodies to nominate three representatives to be considered for the 2015 WoolPoll panel.

“In order to achieve greater diversity through this nominations process, I ask that you to include one female and one younger growers (ie approximately 40 years old), in your organisation’s three nominations,” a letter from Mr Roberts said.

“Such individuals may not currently sit on your executive committees or councils, however the 2012 Panel and AWI see this as an important development opportunity.”

Key dates for WoolPoll 2015

  • An independent Review of Performance will be published on the AWI website in August and a summary sent to eligible levy payers with their voter information memorandum and ballot paper.
  • In September, woolgrowers will be provided with a voter information memorandum, that will outline information about WoolPoll and how AWI proposes to invest the levy funds at each levy rate option.
  • Voting will take place over a six-week period between September 14 and October 30 this year.
  • The results of WoolPoll will be announced at the AWI Annual General Meeting on November 20, and take effect from July 1 2016.
  • Source: Australian Wool Innovation

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