WAFarmers call to action on Australian Wool Innovation changes

Sheep Central, August 7, 2018

WOOL growers are being urged to become shareholders of Australian Wool Innovation in the lead-up to the 2018 AWI annual general meeting.

WAFarmers vice president Steve McGuire is concerned that less than half of wool growers hold AWI shares, but several important recommendations arising from the recent AWI performance and governance review might need shareholder approval at the body’s 2018 annual general meeting on November 23.

AWI leaders have sought legal advice on the need for shareholder approval of review recommendations covering director term and board nomination committee changes, which might be covered in resolutions at the AWI AGM. Peak grower body WoolProducers Australia has disputed whether shareholder approval is needed for all the changes recommended by the review, but has welcomed the call for more growers to become AWI shareholders.

WAFarmers said in 2017, there were over 60,000 wool levy payers and only about 24,000 shareholders. AWI’s website says the company had 24,206 shareholders at 31 December 2017, but there were 60,257 wool levy payers.

To be eligible to become an AWI shareholder, applicants must have paid at least $100 in wool levies in the past three years. Paying wool levies does not automatically make the levy payer a shareholder of AWI. To become a shareholder, a levy payer must apply. Click here for more details.

Western Australian call to action

Mr McGuire said WAFarmers is encouraging all Western Australian wool growers who are AWI levy payers to become a shareholder so they can have their say on the future of AWI.

“Being an AWI shareholder entitles wool growers to shape the decision making processes within the organisation.

“Paying AWI levies gives growers the opportunity to vote on the levy rate, however being an AWI shareholder will give growers the option to vote on board elections and motions at future AGMs in addition to voting on levy rates,” he said.

“There are a number of recommendations that have come out of the recently released EY Strategic Review of AWI that may require shareholder approval and therefore it is particularly important for wool growers to check their shareholder status to ensure they are eligible to have their say on any changes.

“With WA being significant contributors to the national wool clip, it is essential that more WA wool growers become AWI shareholders to have input into the direction of AWI,” Mr McGuire said.

Wool growers can determine if they are a shareholder by calling Link Market Services on 1800 113 373 (free call).

Click here to read the AWI Review report.


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