WoolProducers Australia committed to Foot and Mouth Disease Preparedness

MEDIA RELEASE

17 December 2018

WoolProducers Australia committed to Foot and Mouth Disease Preparedness

The peak grower representative body for the Australian wool industry, WoolProducers Australia (WPA) continues to strengthen its commitment to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) preparedness on behalf of the Australian wool industry.

The WPA Board resolved to co-fund a number of industry positions with the Department of Agriculture for real-time training for FMD in Nepal, which helps trainees to be better equipped to recognise and report FMD symptoms hence assisting Australia in its early warning and response capacity.

WoolProducers are currently calling for one nomination each for two courses in March, 2019. The first course will be held 4-8 March and the second from 11-15 March. Nominations close on 9 January, 2019. Further information can be acquired by emailing info@woolproducers.com.au.

Mr Ashley Cooper, WPA Policy Manager has recently returned from one of these courses.

“The course was a valuable opportunity for attendees as we were each able to gain a better understanding of our industry roles in an FMD response, should an outbreak occur in Australia. Being able to learn in a practical environment really puts the theory into practice and this solidifies your knowledge better than any desk-based course.”

“I would encourage any industry person who may assist in an emergency animal disease response with a connection to the Australian wool industry to apply.” Mr Cooper said.

These courses are designed for producers, stock handlers, private and government vets and animal health policy makers, and are delivered by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

“FMD is something that all producers hear about but this training has enabled me to think about what an outbreak would actually mean in an Australian context.” Mr Cooper continued.

“The course opened my eyes to the wider policies surrounding an FMD response in Australia and how they will impact not just on-farm activities but the whole livestock supply-chain, including the devastating implications for trade.”

WPA remains committed to FMD preparedness and has sent wool industry representatives, including producers, agents and private vets from all sheep producing states in Australia as part of this funding round.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Jo Hall
CEO
0488 554 811

Ashley Cooper
Policy Manager
0455 442 776


WoolProducers announces new leadership team

MEDIA RELEASE

26 November 2018

Edward Storey and Steve Harrison announced as WoolProducers Australia new leadership team

WoolProducers Australia has announced Ed Storey as their new President and Steve Harrison as Senior Vice-President.

The announcement follows WoolProducers’ AGM held in Sydney where immediate past President Richard Halliday, stood down after completing his maximum four-year term as President.

Mr Storey thanked Mr Halliday for his service to WoolProducers and the wider wool industry “Richard has contributed immensely to the wool industry over his tenure and oversaw a number of essential policy decisions to take the industry forward”.

“Some of these issues include the establishment of a Wool Industry Trust, pain relief, the end of a restrictive approach to OJD management, industry structural reform and ongoing input into wild dog management”. Mr Storey said.

Mr Storey said he looked forward to working with Mr Harrison, the WoolProducers Board and staff to continue advocating in the interests of all Australian woolgrowers.

A key priority of WoolProducers going forward is to ensure that all wool industry service providers and representative organisations are working together to serve the industry in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Mr Storey said “WoolProducers believes that the implementation of the recommendations from the Review of Performance of AWI is of crucial importance to the success of this cohesive approach”.

“WoolProducers welcomes the appointment of Ms Collette Garnsey to the role of Chair and we look forward to working with their new leadership team to ensure positive outcomes for woolgrower and the wider industry.”

ENDS

Media Contacts:

Ed Storey, President
0438 309 500

Jo Hall, CEO
0488 554 811


Woolgrowers decide wool levy to be 1.5%

MEDIA RELEASE

16 November, 2018

Woolgrowers decide wool levy to be 1.5%

WoolProducers Australia has welcomed the announcement of the WoolPoll results today, with growers determining that 1.5% will be the levy paid for the next strategic cycle of wool research, development and marketing.

WoolProducers President Richard Halliday said “Growers have had the opportunity to have their say on what amount of levy they wish to pay for the next three years, and they have determined that 1.5% is appropriate.”

WoolProducers decided to advocate for 1.5% after careful consideration of the figures and projected forecasts provided by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) in the Voter Information Memorandum (VIM).

“WoolProducers strongly believed that 1.5% would provide ample money for AWI to conduct their current business as well as invest in relevant new areas.

“The last three financial years has seen expenditure by AWI of between $70 and $88M per year and the industry got to a good place with that level of investment.” Mr Halliday said.
WoolProducers’ decision to advocate a lower levy was not a protest decision or linked to governance concerns.

“It is important to note that whilst we continue to have concerns around the governance of AWI and their response to many of the recommendations in Review of Performance, these issues were never a factor in our decision to support 1.5%” Mr Halliday said.

WoolProducers believes that now that growers have made their decision and the levy has been set, AWI’s focus must continue to be implementation of the review recommendations.
“The review recommendations were made independently to improve the governance and operations of AWI, so they must now get on with implementing them in the quickest way possible”.

“WoolPoll can no longer be considered to be a distraction so AWI must forge ahead to modernise the organisation in the interests of all woolgrowers.” Mr Halliday concluded.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:
Richard Halliday
President
0428 854 759

Jo Hall
Chief Executive Officer
0488 554 811


Lower wool volumes mean reduced income for woolgrowers

MEDIA RELEASE

22 October, 2018

Lower wool volumes mean reduced income for woolgrowers

Australian Wool Innovation’s (AWI’s) recent media statements and comments regarding a reduction in income of 36% on the back of reduced volumes if a lower levy is voted in, misses the obvious fact that their own levy payers are the ones that are currently suffering the most during the dry conditions being experienced across large parts of Australia’s wool growing areas.

AWI are calling on wool levy payers to vote 2% in this year’s WoolPoll to ‘ensure that AWI can continue to invest in current and new projects for the next three years’, as there is a forecast 15% decrease in this year’s production based on Australian Wool Testing Authority’s (AWTA’s) recent supply figures.

AWI are asking for 2% of growers’ income to go into their coffers even though many growers will experience a significant decrease in their own business’ bottom line.

Whilst research, development and marketing of the wool industry is very important, the financial stability of levy payers is far more important. To cite reduced production as a reason to keep the levy at 2%, is essentially asking growers to put the interests of AWI before their own business.

According to the WoolPoll Voter Information Memorandum (VIM), 1.5% offers projected annual income of between $85.8M - $88M per year for the next three years which is ample money for AWI to conduct their current business as well as invest in relevant new areas. A 1.5% levy offers a projected annual total income of between $85.8M to $88M per year for the next three years. The last three financial years has seen expenditure by AWI of between $70 and $88M per year.

The reality is 1.5% will still deliver more money to AWI than they have ever received and why WoolProducers is advocating for this amount.

WoolProducers strongly believe that the half of a percent (.5%) is better in growers’ pockets in order to rebuild their own businesses when the season changes.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:
Richard Halliday
President
0428 854 759
Jo Hall
Chief Executive Officer
0488 554 811


Bipartisan support of TPP-11 important for Australian wool exports

MEDIA RELEASE

15 October, 2018

Bipartisan support of TPP-11 important for Australian wool exports

Peak woolgrower representative body, WoolProducers Australia (WPA) is calling for bipartisan support of implementing legislation for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) in the Senate next week.

The TPP-11 implementing legislation passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in September, and it is hoped the same will be achieved again when it is considered by the Senate on Monday.

WoolProducers Australia President, Richard Halliday said ‘Both sides of the Australian government must be focussed on enabling TPP-11, especially given that Australia exports 98 per cent of its wool.’

‘Passing the enabling legislation in the Senate will allow early ratification of TPP-11. This will benefit Australian woolgrowers as it will maintain market accessibility’ Mr Halliday said.

Wool exports to TPP-11 members totalled $35 million in 2017, with total Australian wool exports of valued at around $3.7 billion for the same period.

‘All tariffs on Australian raw wool exported to TPP-11 countries will be eliminated and within the TPP-11 region, products such as yarn made from Australian wool in partnering countries will receive preferential treatment.’

‘This will create increased demand for Australian wool in partnering countries because of the TPP-11 rules of origin for textiles.’ Mr Halliday said.

WoolProducers strongly supports the implementing legislation being passed without delay so the benefits of TPP-11 to agriculture and regional Australia in particular, can be realised quickly.

‘This is the world’s largest ever regional trade agreement. Australia must be a part of it given the huge opportunities it presents for wool and other agricultural exports.’ Mr Halliday concluded.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Richard Halliday                                                                                     Jo Hall

President                                                                                                 Chief Executive Officer

0428 854 759                                                                                          0488 554 811


WoolProducers urges growers to vote 1.5% in WoolPoll

MEDIA RELEASE

17 September, 2018

WoolProducers urges growers to vote 1.5% in WoolPoll

Peak woolgrower representative body WoolProducers Australia has announced that they will be advocating for 1.5% in this year’s WoolPoll.

 

With voting opening today, WoolProducers are recommending to levy payers to choose 1.5% as this will provide Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) with enough money to continue their work on behalf of industry and invest in necessary new projects.

 

WoolProducers President Mr Richard Halliday said ‘According to the WoolPoll Voter Information Memorandum (VIM), 1.5% offers projected annual income of between $85.8M - $88M per year for the next three years which is ample money for AWI to conduct their current business as well as invest in relevant new areas.’

 

AWI are urging levy payers to vote 2%, particularly in light of reduced supply and price concerns, however WoolProducers disputes the assertion that 1.5% is unviable.

 

‘2% will see an expenditure of $110M per year over the next three years, which coupled with the budgeted expenditure of $111.2M for this financial year, means that AWI are intending to spend nearly half a billion dollars in woolgrower and tax payer money during the next four years’. Mr Halliday said.

 

A 1.5% levy offers a projected annual total income of between $85.8M to $88M per year for the next three years. The last three financial years has seen expenditure by AWI of between $70 and $88M per year.

 

‘Even a $100M annual expenditure represents a 28% increase over the $78M average of the past three years. While $110m would represent a staggering increase of over 40% on the average of the past 3 years – we feel this is too much money to spend and we cannot stand for wastage of growers’ money.’

 

‘1.5% levy is actually supporting a substantial increase in the amount AWI has to spend, even under a scenario where production volumes incur a significant shock and should enable the board of AWI to do most, if not all of the programmes they are keen to do’. Mr Halliday said.

 

The VIM states that the unaudited reserves of the AWI are $115M, which given the strong finish in the EMI of the last financial year, could be even higher.

 

‘The reality is that AWI has never had so much money given the current healthy state of the reserves and the continued strong prices. ‘

 

‘Whilst the concerns of productions are valid, we believe that one of the best ways to contribute to increasing production is leave that extra half a percent in woolgrowers’ pockets by voting 1.5%’. Mr Halliday said.

 

WoolPoll is a triennial vote undertaken by eligible wool growers to determine the amount of their wool cheque that goes towards research, development and marketing which is administered by AWI.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Richard Halliday                                                                                     Jo Hall

President                                                                                                 Chief Executive Officer

0428 854 759                                                                                          0488 554 811


WoolPoll levy options lack logic

MEDIA RELEASE

20 August, 2018

WoolPoll levy options lack logic

Peak woolgrower representative body, WoolProducers Australia (WPA) has expressed disappointment in the 2018 WoolPoll levy options put forward by the Australian Wool Innovation board.

The options for the triennial vote by growers to determine the percentage of levy paid for research, development and marketing, were today announced as: 0%, 1.5%, 2%, 2.5% and 3%.

WoolProducers Australia President, Richard Halliday said ‘The inclusion of two options above the current levy rate of 2% makes no sense given the total combined percentage of votes in both the
2012 and 2015 WoolPolls for 2.5% and 3% levy rate options did not exceed 7%.’

‘WPA made this point in a letter to the WoolPoll Panel Chair, Mr Sid Laurie, when we were approached to provide our preferred levy rate options earlier in the year.’ Mr Halliday said.

WPA put forward 0%; 1%; 1.5%; 2% and 2.5% as the preferred levy rate range, as these would have provided woolgrowers with a range of incremental levy options to consider.

Under the Wool Levy Poll Regulations that WoolPoll is conducted 0% must be included as an option. Given the current high wool prices currently being received, decreasing the levy rate will be a serious consideration for many growers.

‘It is illogical in the current environment to only provide woolgrowers with the opportunity to reduce the levy rate by half a percent or cease it all together, but to then provide two options above status quo.’

‘WPA believes that the reason that AWI have chosen this option range, is to utilise the ‘centre-stage effect’ whereby there is an inherent bias to choose the middle option, as there is absolutely no other justification in including 2.5% and 3%’. Mr Halliday said.

AWI have stated that they will be recommending 2% to woolgrowers.

WPA feel that it is inappropriate that the body that is in receipt of the compulsory levy is the only one that decides the options for shareholders, whilst also being able to lobby for a particular option during the WoolPoll process.

‘Despite their claims, the AWI Board have not listened to growers, and have put forward option rates to pursue their own interests – this is unacceptable.’ Mr Halliday concluded.


WoolProducers calls for AWI to get on with implementing recommendations

MEDIA RELEASE

26 June 2018

WoolProducers calls for AWI to get on with implementing recommendations

Peak woolgrower representative body, WoolProducers Australia is calling on Australian Wool Innovation to implement all recommendations made in the recent review of performance called by Minister Littleproud.

 

Recent claims made by AWI has included that the recommendations will cost ‘millions of woolgrower dollars’.

 

Whilst acknowledging that there will be a cost in implementing these recommendations, WoolProducers rejects that these will costs will be as substantial as claimed.

 

WoolProducers Senior Vice President Ed Storey said ‘The reality is the recommendations are aimed at modernising AWI and their operations.’

 

‘Any costs associated with implementing these changes are due to AWI Board not ensuring that AWI have kept abreast of good governance practices over the past few years.’ Mr Storey said.

 

WoolProducers are calling for consistency in the implementation of these recommendations – governance issues are the responsibility of the AWI Board and there is no need for these to go to shareholder votes.

 

‘There are a number of recommendations that will require shareholder approval, but also a number that the Board can implement themselves. The report suggests that many recommendations can be made without the need for shareholders to vote.’

 

‘WPA see no reason why those recommendations that the Board can implement themselves aren’t done immediately to make AWI the most effective and efficient organisation for woolgrowers.’ Mr Storey said.

Although there is ambiguity around how some recommendations are implemented, AWI have indicated that they have sought legal advice on how best to implement these. As this legal advice has been funded by woolgrowers, WoolProducers are calling for this advice to be made public.

 

AWI has also claimed that the recommendations regarding the Board Nomination Committee and how director elections are conducted will see woolgrowers lose their ability to vote for candidates for Board elections – this is simply false.

 

‘Comparisons with the Meat and Livestock Australia election process are factually incorrect, no where do the recommendations suggest that the number of candidates running for board elections will be stifled.’

 

‘Nominees will need to possess certain skills in line with a skills-based Board, which is a requirement under the Statutory Funding Agreement.

 

This does not mean that candidates will not possess knowledge of the wool industry; rather they will be able to use these skills in addition to their industry knowledge to add further value to AWI’. Mr Storey said.

ENDS

 

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Jo Hall

Chief Executive Officer

0488 554 811

 

Ed Storey

Senior Vice President

0438 309 500


Statement: WPA submission into the AWI review

STATEMENT

6 July, 2018

WPA submission into the AWI Review

 

The Minister for Agriculture and Water, David Littleproud instigated a robust process to review the operations of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

Industry, including grower representative bodies, took the opportunity to express views with the aim of enhancing the wool industry Research and Development Corporation to ensure compulsory levy dollars are expended in the most effective way possible.

Industry needs confidence that opinions put forward in this, or any public consultation can be made in a frank and fearless manner without the threat of legal ramifications.

To address the allegations made against WoolProducers Australia by a director of Australian Wool Innovation, specifically:
1. Where WPA made reference to AWI’s board of directors in its submission to the review and the decisions made by them, that reference (apart from anyone specifically named) was to AWI’s board of directors as a whole and not the actions or decisions of any particular director; and

2. WPA rejects any and all allegations that the content of its submissions were defamatory and will seek further legal advice in relation to any formal claims against WPA.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:
Jo Hall
Chief Executive Officer
0488 554 811