Grow­ers vote for lower levy

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIAN Wool In­no­va­tion has “heard the mes­sage” of wool grow­ers, ac­cord­ing to chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art McCul­lough.

Mr McCul­lough was speak­ing af­ter wool grow­ers voted to re­duce the levy they pay AWI for re­search and mar­ket­ing to 1.5 per cent for the first time.

“We re­alise we need to be a bit more pru­dent, ef­fi­cient, lean and trans­par­ent and we will do our best to keep all the pro­grams run­ning,” Mr McCul­lough said.

In an­other first, the WoolPoll re­sult was de­ter­mined by a count of pref­er­ences of the 13,506 votes re­ceived.

Fol­low­ing the al­lo­ca­tion of three rounds of pref­er­ences, 52.82 per cent voted in favour of a 1.5 per cent levy for pro­duc­ers.

Be­fore pref­er­ences were al­lo­cated, 44.77 per cent of vot­ers had se­lected 1.5 per cent as their pre­ferred op­tion, while 43.51 per cent had se­lected the cur­rent level of 2 per cent.

Mr McCul­lough said AWI be­lieved there were sev­eral fac­tors in grow­ers’ de­ci­sion to vote for the re­duced levy.

He said these fac­tors in­cluded that “our re­serves are quite de­cent, the drought and tough times and the prox­im­ity of the 1.5 and 2 per cent levy”.

“We know we have to con­sult with wool grow­ers a bit bet­ter . . . we’ve al­ready had an in­dus­try meet­ing and we will work hard and make sure we com­mu­ni­cate to their sat­is­fac­tion, we will lis­ten a bit bet­ter as well.”

Mr McCul­lough said there was “no doubt” AWI rev­enue would be down af­ter a lower levy kicked in.

He said con­tin­u­ing to run all AWI pro­grams came down to “ad­di­tional money” the board might take from re­serves to spend more.

WoolPro­duc­ers Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Richard Hal­l­i­day said 1.5 per cent would pro­vide am­ple money for AWI to con­duct its cur­rent busi­ness as well as in­vest in rel­e­vant new ar­eas.

Mr Hal­l­i­day said the de­ci­sion to ad­vo­cate a lower levy was not a protest de­ci­sion or linked to gov­er­nance con­cerns.

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