Chief Executive Officer Report

with Jo Hall

 

Welcome to the second edition of The WoolPress. This edition has a focus on biosecurity, which is an important pillar of all woolgrowers’ business but there are a number of issues happening within industry at the moment which makes this edition particularly timely.

 

We have again sought articles from a range of industry partners and stakeholders to highlight the range of issues that are currently being addressed throughout our wonderful industry.

 

In the past few months we have seen the roll out of new modules of Livestock Assurance Program (LPA) for both animal welfare and biosecurity, which requires biosecurity plans to be developed for all properties under LPA.

 

WoolProducers in conjunction with Sheep Producers Australia (SPA) have also undertaken national reviews of both the Ovine Jonhes Disease (OJD) National Management Program and the Sheep Market Assurance Program (Sheep MAP) and the National Farm Biosecurity Manual for Grazing Livestock is also being reviewed.

 

From a national biosecurity perspective WoolProducers Australia, Sheep Producers Australia and Animal Health Australia (AHA) developed the Sheep Health Project (SHP) in 2014, as a more holistic approach to address endemic sheep conditions.

 

The idea behind the SHP was to reduce the management and production focus on any one particular disease or condition (i.e. OJD), using biosecurity as the underpinning plank to reduce the impact of all endemic conditions. The farmgate benefits of this are two-fold – sound biosecurity principles are relevant to all diseases and conditions, so instead of managing one disease in isolation shifting the focus to biosecurity addresses all diseases, and by broadening the scope will also reduce the stigma that may be associated with any one disease. For more information: Sheep Health Project

 

Whilst biosecurity is an integral part of industry there are, as always, a number of other issues happening in the wool industry that woolgrowers also need to be aware of.

 

WoolProducers have launched our ‘Raising the Baa’ project, which is a project under the Commonwealth’s Leadership in Agriculture Fund. This important project will look to address the gap in industry capacity building and will provide an opportunity to upskill a number of woolgrowers in the areas of representation, with a strong focus on corporate governance and directorship skills. For an overview of this exciting initiative please see here.

 

The Program will provide an innovative and supportive environment for leaders within the wool industry to continue to develop and refine their leadership skills in order to contribute to ongoing capacity and capability building within industry. In doing so, current and future leaders within the wool industry will be provided with the tools to develop policy and strategy in a complex and challenging environment. Please contact WoolProducers if you are interested in participating in this exciting initiative.

 

2018 is another WoolPoll year, whereby growers will get the chance to vote for the amount of levy they wish to pay to research, development and marketing. The WoolPoll Panel has been convened to oversee the process (see WPA’s media release here). WoolPoll voting will take place over a six-week period between 17 September and 2 November 2018.

 

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon David Littleproud, announced in February that an independent review into AWI would be conducted in the lead up to WoolPoll. WoolProducers welcomed the review (see WPA’s media release here), but have since expressed concerns over the independence of this review. WoolProducers hopes that this review offers a genuine opportunity to improve the governance, transparency and accountability of AWI, whilst also ensuring that AWI start working effectively and collaboratively with stakeholders.

 

WoolProducers have an action list that we would like to be addressed regarding the operations of AWI, which in some cases will require Constitutional change and in others will just require the Board to improve their current performance.

 

WoolProducers wants reform leading to transparency and genuine independence in the following areas: the conduct of WoolPoll; the entire voting and election process, including the Board Nomination Committee, proxy allocation and declaration and shareholder access; the operations of the Industry Consultative Committee and the three-yearly Review of Performance.

 

The Terms of Reference for the review can be seen here, and we hope that woolgrowers take the opportunity to have their say. Ernst and Young have been appointed to conduct the review, with the deadline for submission is 4 May, 2018. Further information can be found here.

 

On behalf of WoolProducers, I hope that you enjoy this edition of The WoolPress and as always if you have any questions regarding any issues raised in this newsletter, or the wool industry in general, please contact the office at info@woolproducers.com.au