AWI scheduled for first 2018 Senate Estimates hearing

Terry Sim, February 23, 2018

AWI chairman Wal Merriman

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation will come before Senate Estimates in Canberra next week, amid concerns its responses to previous questions on governance, finances and election processes need clarification.

AWI executives and board members are scheduled to appear before members of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee in Parliament House’s Committee Room 2R1 on Tuesday, February 27, from 11:50am-12:10pm.

The hearing will be led by committee chair Senator Barry O’Sullivan.

WoolProducers Australia chief executive officer Jo Hall said the body has long been calling for more accountability and transparency to wool growers from AWI, the industry’s research, development and market body.

“WoolProducers has considered the responses to the questions on notice from the October (2017) Senate Estimate appearance by AWI and believes that the RRAT Senate Committee need to seek clarification on some of the responses provided, particularly around the AWI director election process.

“Following the 2017 AWI annual general meeting, WoolProducers stated that we expected the board of AWI to implement changes to increase independence, transparency and accountability in all aspects of their operations, in line with shareholder expectations.”

In the Senate Estimates hearing last October, AWI chairman Wal Merriman admitted he had breached AWI’s code of Conduct and damaged the standing of the company. He also admitted could hold up to half the votes in an AWI election as proxies.

Also due to appear before the RRAT committee next Tuesday are the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 9-9:20am; Landcare Australia Ltd, 9:20-9:50am; Meat & Livestock Australia, 9:50-10:10am, and; the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, 3-3:15pm.

Click here to review AWI’s responses to previous questions on notice.

The February 27 hearings will be televised on Channel 109 / radio 98.3


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  1. Nigel Baines, February 28, 2018

    I have been watching this situation for some time with a considerable amount of disgust at the lack of corporate governance from the chairman Mr Merriman, since he became chairman. I have penned my concerns to the board in the past with no acknowledgement of recieval. Given the current display of contempt by AWI executives towards the Senate, I feel that the chairman of AWI should be stood aside and an independent chair be appointed.

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