WoolPoll needs extending, says NSW Farmers

By Country News

NSW Farmers has called for WoolPoll to be extended from three years to four in response to the Federal Government’s review of the wool levy voting system.

The wool levy contributes to the research, development and marketing undertaken by Australian Wool Innovation.

NSW Farmers Wool Committee chair Andrew Wood said an extended WoolPoll period would improve budgeting certainty for AWI, especially around research projects.

“The current three-year period means that AWI’s planning ability is compromised, which in turn negatively impacts the wool growers paying the levy,” Mr Wood said.

“The rate of the wool levy has a direct impact on AWI’s finances, and the current three-year period limits what research projects AWI can commit to.

“During the 2018 WoolPoll, the levy was changed from two per cent to 1.5 per cent. Such a change amounts to a substantial difference in revenue over a three-year period.”

Mr Wood said NSW Farmers had used the review to suggest further changes to the wool levy system.

“We think that woolgrowers should automatically become AWI shareholders. Currently only half of eligible woolgrowers are AWI shareholders.

“Greater engagement with AWI will improve adoption and lead to better outcomes for producers.

“We’re also calling for MLA to conduct its levy reviews at a similar time to WoolPoll to promote collaboration and joint-funding of projects.

“We supported all 82 recommendations of the report by EY into the performance and governance of AWI, which included this review.

“There is still opportunity to contribute to the review, with submissions due by June 12.”