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WoolProducers broadens levy fund oversight in unity push

Terry Sim, January 21, 2015
 WPA president Richard Halliday

WPA president Richard Halliday

WoolProducers Australia is broadening oversight of animal health and welfare levy funds to help increase industry unity and transparency, WPA president Richard Halliday said this week.

The body’s Animal Health and Welfare Board Committee, previously made up of WPA directors, now has members from the Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association and the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders.

After a successful meeting in Melbourne with ASWGA and AASMB representatives in November last year, Mr Halliday said committee membership had also been offered to the Australian Wool Growers Association and the Australian Sheep Veterinarians.

“We’re looking forward to bringing wool grower groups together,” he said.

WPA, along with the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, receives sheep transaction levy funds from Animal Health Australia to finance the Sheep Health and Welfare Trust, to support national animal health and welfare projects. The WPA Animal Health and Welfare Board Committee makes national policy decisions that affect all growers, Mr Halliday said.

Aim is to get the wool industry in one room

Through the committee restructure, WPA was attempting to “get the wool industry all in one room, so we all know what each other is doing so we don’t have any bickering and back stabbing which has gone on for a million years,” he said.

“But let’s try to not have as much of that, let us get in the one room and talk about all the issues, problems and solutions….so we are all talking from the one sheet of paper basically.”

Mr Halliday said he would like the committee restructure process to lead to industry unity at other levels.

“Part of our organisational mantra is we are going to aim to be a lot more transparent about what we are doing, what we have done and why we are doing it.

“My theory is that if we want anyone in the wool industry to do something, if we are the first to do it maybe they will follow us.”

2015 is year for important issues

As well as the emphasis on industry unity, Mr Halliday said 2015 would also provide wool growers with an opportunity to have their say on a number of important issues, including WoolPoll and the WoolProducers independent director elections.

WoolPoll is held every three years to determine the levy percentage that will be invested into research, development and marketing.

“The WoolPoll Panel, chaired by Will Roberts will again oversight the voting process and all eligible wool growers have the opportunity to determine the levy that directly influences the profitability and sustainability of the wool industry.”

WPA independent director elections

Mr Halliday said WoolProducers was also holding its independent director elections in the second half of the year, coinciding with the WPA annual general meeting in November.

“We normally call for nominations in late August-September.”

Every two years, three positions for independently elected director positions are contested and this year the current independent directors Charlie Merriman, Steve Harrison and Max Watts have to contest an election to retain their seats.

“By having this mechanism we can ensure that completely objective views are provided for consideration around our board table.” Mr Halliday said.

WPA also said this week it has appointed Jo Hall as its interim chief executive officer and Genevieve Morrow as interim policy manager – health and welfare, as part of an internal restructure.

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