AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation will announce the make-up of its Wool Exchange Portal steering committee within weeks.
The WEP committee of up to 15 members will be “woolgrower-heavy”, according to AWI, but will also include broker and exporter representatives.
AWI chief executive officer Stuart McCullough has told the ABC the committee is expected to hold its first meeting next month and will report to the AWI board on the viability of the WEP within about three months.
AWI claimed wool growers have unanimously endorsed examining WEP viability through an extensive consultation process.
The online Wool Exchange Portal was a major recommendation of the AWI-sponsored Wool Selling Systems Review. In its final report, the review panel said the purpose of the WEP is to provide growers with a tool to make meaningful comparisons of their available wool marketing options, promoting transparency, choice and competitiveness.
The panel said the role of the steering committee should be to complete a full business assessment or cost-benefit study of the WEP. This will require consultation with stakeholders concerning the design and functions of the WEP, quantitative estimation of the demand from potential users for WEP services and related benefits and a more detailed costing of capital and recurrent costs than what has been possible in the review, investigation of the options for future pricing and financing of the WEP and appointment of a developer, preferably through a tender process. The panel said the steering committee could also usefully consider options for future ownership of the WEP.
Mr McCullough also told the ABC the WEP steering committee’s final report would not be made public before the AWI board made its decision on the Wool Exchange Portal. AWI responses to several questions about the committee and the WEP from Sheep Central were not received before this article was published.