MINISTER for Agriculture David Littleproud is expecting to implement a 1.5 percent wool levy from July 1 next year, after the 2018 WoolPoll ballot result was announced last week.
AWI announced last Friday that wool growers voted to have 1.5pc of their gross wool sale proceeds levied to fund research, development and marketing from 2019-22, going against the AWI board’s recommendation for 2pc for the first time since WoolPoll began in 2003.
Of the 13,506 votes received, following the allocation of three rounds of preferences, 52.82pc voted in favour of a 1.5pc wool levy. AWI and Link Market Services advised that 13,506 valid voting papers were cast, representing 28.67pc of 47,107 eligible levy payers. The returned voting papers represented 55.92pc of total available voting entitlements.
Mr Littleproud said he respected and supported wool growers’ democratic right to choose the levy rate they wish to devote to research and marketing.
“WoolPoll 2018 was growers’ opportunity to choose how much funding AWI will receive for the next three years,” he said.
“It is now up to AWI to work with their allocated budget and deliver the best possible research and marketing services to take the Australian wool industry forward.
“Link Market Services conducted WoolPoll 2018 completely independent of government, and undertook its own due diligence and verification,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The WoolPoll Panel is satisfied with the process.
“I am yet to receive AWI’s formal submission, but expect to change the regulations to enable the 1.5 per cent levy rate to take effect from 1 July 2019.”
WAFarmers Livestock Council vice president Steve McGuire said the 1.5pc WoolPoll decision was a good result for the wool industry, given all the challenges growers are facing, particularly those in drought-affected areas.
“WAFarmers supported Wool Producers Australia recommendation of 1.5pc levy rate and believed that this levy rate change would provide enable enough funds for AWI to operate well in to the future.
“WAFarmers congratulates wool growers for not being complacent and choosing to cast their vote and using the opportunity they are entitled to as growers,” he said.
“Now that the WoolPoll levy rate has been announced, WAFarmers would like to see the AWI board and management put their mind to the task of implementing all 82 recommendations from the EY Review as soon as possible.”
Under its enabling legislation, the Wool Services Privatisation Act 2000, AWI is required to conduct an independent poll of levy payers every three years. AWI, in accordance with the Wool Services Privatisation (Wool Levy Poll) Regulations 2003, engaged Link Market Services to manage the WoolPoll 2018 vote.