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.