Wool growers urged to make submissions to AWI review

Sheep Central, April 30, 2018

EY’s Andrew Metcalfe

AUSTRALIA’S wool growers and industry bodies have just five days to make submissions to the review of Australian Wool Innovation.

The review is being conducted by advisory firm EY Australia under Terms of Reference outlined by the Department of Agriculture and Water.

The review’s submissions deadline is Friday May 4 and EY Australia today urged the industry to contribute to the “independent” review.

The review was announced by the Federal Government on February 27, 2018, and submissions are being accepted via the webpage:

EY Australia’s Federal Government lead partner Andrew Metcalfe said the AWI independent performance review is well underway and there have been many stakeholder meetings and teleconferences, alongside extensive phone research including appropriate sampling across all states and territories.

“The review will look at AWI’s performance and governance against its stated objectives.

“It’s also about looking to the future, and enabling wool growers and stakeholders to contribute to the future direction of AWI,” he said.

Mr Metcalfe said the review will consider AWI’s delivery upon core objectives including research, development, extension and marketing services to woolgrowers, and other matters of public interest.

“The review is an opportunity to raise issues and concerns.

“The sooner people lodge their submissions, the more time we have to carefully consider each submission,” he said.

To contact the enquiry review team, or provide a verbal submission, please email: [email protected]

“We strongly encourage those with a passion for Australia’s wool industry to act quickly and have their say,” Mr Metcalfe said.

EY has also released a Focus Paper that detailed the ‘Questions that the Independent Review is asking…’. These include questions about AWI’s obligations under its current Statutory Funding Agreement with the Federal Government, its governance arrangements, planned outcomes, benefits to growers and engagement or consultation approach. The questions also seek growers’ views on whether AWI has implemented the recommendations of the 2012-2015 performance review and if the body collaborates with other research and development corporations. The review will also ask whether the Corporation Act’s replaceable rules should apply under the AWI constitution and whether AWI’s employment practices are appropriate.

However, the list of key review questions notably does not directly seek grower feedback on the performance and conduct of AWI chairman Wal Merriman or the board in relation to the SFA or AWI’s governance and conflict of interest codes. Wool grower and Senate Estimates committee concerns over Mr Merriman’s behaviour — during director elections, in swearing at journalists and covertly observing a Merino breeders focus group behind a one-way mirror — preceded the current review’s establishment and the inclusion of the ‘other matters of public interest’ in the Terms of Reference.

An EY Australia spokesman said the review caters for all matters of public interest.

“If stakeholders have a specific interest, we encourage them to take part in the review process.”


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