WOOL growers have been reminded of the importance of voting preferentially in the WoolPoll 2021 ballot to decided their levy for the next three years.
Voting in the ballot opened today with WoolPoll panel chair Steven Bolt encouraging every eligible levy payer to have their say on the direction of the wool industry by voting in WoolPoll 2021.
The WoolPoll Panel media release said growers are being given up to five options of levy rate to support, and can vote for one or more levy rates in order of preference through the independent poll. The options growers can vote on as their preferred levy rate, or rank in preference, are 0 percent, 1pc, 1.5pc, 2pc and 2.5pc.
Vote preferentially to make your vote count – Storey
However, the release made no mention of the importance to the ballot result of growers voting preferentially in the optional preferential system, which WoolProducers Australia president Ed Storey said cannot be overstated.
He said if a levy payer voted only for one levy option, and for one of the two most popular categories, and didn’t nominate other preferences, their vote would be “irrelevant” and extinguish.
“We understand there are people keen to vote zero or 1pc for a reduction in the levy (currently 1.5pc), for those people they must put all their preferences in by filling out all the boxes 1 to 5 in order of their preferences.”
Mr Storey said it is likely that the ballot would come down to the two previously most preferred options 1.5pc and 2pc, as in the 2018 WoolPoll.
“So if you are voting any other than those options, it is very important you put in your preferences.
“The risk is if you don’t put all your preferences in, your vote won’t count,” Mr Storey said.
WoolPoll is a voluntary vote of all wool levy payers held every three years through which the industry decides on its levy rate for investment in the research, development and marketing activities conducted for growers by Australian Wool Innovation. Anyone who has paid at least $100 in wool levies over the past three years is eligible to vote.
Mr Bolt said the poll is unique among Australia’s agricultural sectors.
“Few industries have a process where producers can vote on the levy rate they believe they should be pay.
“As wool growers, we are empowered with the ability to determine what our industry levy rate should be,” he said.
“It’s our wool and our industry, and now we can have our say about how much we should pay for R&D and marketing as an investment in our future.”
Mr Bolt said the Australian wool industry was emerging from a challenging period – including drought, a declining national flock and the supply-demand impact of the global pandemic – so it was important for growers to seriously consider the levy rate options to be voted upon.
“We have certainly been confronted by testing times, but we are a proud industry and I expect the resilience of our woolgrowers and their determination to ensure their future prosperity and that of their neighbours and peers will be reflected in a strong voter turnout for WoolPoll 2021.
“The Voter Information Memorandum (VIM) has been sent out to all registered levy payers and is also available on the WoolPoll website, so I encourage all woolgrowers to read through that and make an informed decision about their levy rate of choice,” he said.
The WoolPoll this year will also feature a supplementary question asking growers whether they want a five-year WoolPoll cycle, or if they want to remain with the current three-year voting cycle.
“This gives wool growers even more say in the direction of the wool industry,” Mr Bolt said.
WoolPoll 2021 Panel member and WoolProducers Australia chief executive officer Jo Hall said WoolPoll presents growers with a unique opportunity.
“As we look to rebuild our national flock and galvanise our industry, each and every vote in WoolPoll is incredibly important.
“Discuss the options with your families, farm managers, business partners and employees. Read the voter information meorandum, make an informed decision and then cast your vote,” she said.
Voting for WoolPoll 2021 closes on Friday 5 November. For more information, call the voter helpline on 1800 990 365. Voting can be conducted either online at www.woolpoll.com.au or via email, fax or post.