WoolProducers puts faith in first independently selected WoolPoll panel

Terry Sim, January 31, 2018

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation’s 2018 WoolPoll panel is more independent than past committees entrusted to determine the industry’s preferred levy options, according to WoolProducers Australia president Richard Halliday.

AWI yesterday announced the 2018 panel members, as suggested by the first independent selection panel appointed to consider candidates nominated by wool industry bodies.

“The 2018 WoolPoll panel is comprised of individuals who have a diverse skill set who will ably represent wool growers in this important industry event,” Mr Halliday said.

WoolProducers has had concerns over the independence of previous WoolPolls and welcomed the establishment of a selection committee this year. The committee included Mr Halliday, Joann Wilkie from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, AWI director Jock Laurie and WoolPoll chair Sydney Lawrie.

The 2018 panel members are:

Sydney Lawrie, panel chair, SA Merino breeder and wool grower

Kristen Frost, NSW Merino breeder and wool grower

John Hassell, WA wool grower and WPA director

Ed Storey, NSW wool grower and WPA vice-president

Candice Roberts, QLD Merino breeder and wool grower

Steve Harrison, Victorian Merino breeder and wool grower, WPA director

Rob Ingram, NSW wool grower and Australian Wool Growers Association director.

Brenton Lush, SA wool grower and Corriedale breeder

Richard Keniry, NSW superfine wool grower

Joann Wilkie, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Jock Laurie, AWI director.

Imperative that WoolPoll panel be transparent

Mr Halliday said it is imperative that the 2018 WoolPoll be transparent, independent and provided wool growers with an opportunity to vote for an appropriate percentage option.

“The convening of an independent selection committee is a good first step in ensuring the integrity of this process,” he said.

WoolPoll is the triennial vote by registered AWI shareholders of AWI to determine the percentage of the sale value of their wool (net GST, handling, storage and transport costs) they want to go toward industry research, development and marketing.

“The panel plays a critical role in ensuring that wool growers views are represented during this process,” Mr Halliday said.

The panel is charged with working with AWI and endorsing the voting documentation and processes, and was chosen by an independent selection committee.

Federal government regulations require AWI to consult a panel of wool grower representatives to assist in running the poll. This WoolPoll panel works with AWI and endorses the voting documentation and processes, ensuring transparency and integrity, AWI said. Panel members also play a critical role in encouraging growers to vote in the democratic process of WoolPoll. The panel can suggest levy options, but the range of five options (including a 0 option) to be voted on is ultimately decided by the AWI board.

In November 2017, AWI appointed South Australian wool grower Sydney Lawrie to chair the 2018 WoolPoll Panel.

“Based on advice of the 2015 panel and AWI board, I asked grower representative groups to put forward nominees that would reflect the diversity of the Australian wool industry. I asked for male and female nominees; young growers and the not-so-young; and importantly, those who are actively engaged in industry networks,” Mr Lawrie said.

“There was a very strong field of nominees from across the industry, making for some considerable deliberations by the selection committee,”

“While it was difficult to whittle down, I’m confident that the collective skill set of the eight growers we unanimously selected will represent the wide range of wool grower interests and confidently perform the important tasks required of the WoolPoll panel 2018.”

Key dates for WoolPoll 2018

The first meeting of the 2018 WoolPoll panel will be held next month. In late September, wool growers will be provided with a voter information memorandum, which will detail the levy rate options as determined by the AWI board, how AWI proposes to invest the levy funds at each levy rate, as well as AWI’s levy rate recommendation.

Voting will take place over a six-week period between September 17 and November 2 this year.

The results of WoolPoll 2018 will be announced at the AWI annual general meeting on November 23, and take effect from July 1 2019.

Click here for more WoolPoll 2018 panel biography details.

Sources: AWI, WPA.


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