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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
4 UPFRONT ABOUT WOOLPOLL 2015 • WoolPoll is a three-yearly poll to determine the rate of levy paid to AWI for industry research, development and marketing activities. • It gives all eligible wool levy payers the opportunity to have a say in the future of their industry – by voting for the preferred levy rate to apply for the next three years (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19). • For each $100 of levy paid over the past three years, woolgrowers are entitled to one vote in WoolPoll. KEY DATES • An independent Review of Performance will be published in August on the AWI website; a summary will be sent to eligible levy payers with their Voter Information Memorandum and ballot paper. • In September, woolgrowers will be provided with a Voter Information Memorandum, which will outline information about WoolPoll and how AWI proposes to invest the levy funds at each levy rate option. • Voting will take place over a six-week period between 14 September and 30 October this year. • The results of WoolPoll will be announced at the AWI Annual General Meeting on 20 November, and take effect from 1 July 2016. MORE INFORMATION Peta Slack-Smith AWI Group Manager Corporate Affairs and Market Access E firstname.lastname@example.org • Held every three years, WoolPoll gives woolgrowers the opportunity to vote on the amount of wool levy they will pay for the next three-year period for research, development and marketing activities by AWI. • An independent WoolPoll Panel has been formed comprising ten members. • A culture of accountability and performance permeates AWI at all levels: this is largely driven by the triennial WoolPoll and independent Reviews of Performance. This year, at WoolPoll 2015, woolgrowers will determine the levy rate for AWI to invest in industry research, development and marketing activities. While this is obviously an important process for growers, WoolPoll is also a statutory requirement for AWI, with the outcome of the poll determining the levy rate for the next three years. The federal government regulations that govern WoolPoll outline how the poll must be conducted. This includes requiring AWI to consult an independent panel of industry representatives – the WoolPoll Panel – in conducting the poll. These same regulations also outline the role of the independent WoolPoll Panel – that is to endorse the poll process. The Panel also plays a critical role in maximising voter turnout at the poll. In 2012 the Panel was successful in achieving the highest turn out of grower voting at a WoolPoll. Our hope is to again increase the voter participation at WoolPoll 2015. The independent WoolPoll Panel will work with AWI to endorse the voting documentation and processes for WoolPoll, ensuring transparency and integrity of the poll process. AWI appointed Queensland woolgrower Will Roberts to chair and convene the independent 2015 WoolPoll Panel. As in WoolPoll 2009 and 2012, all national woolgrower and state farm representative groups were asked to nominate a Panel representative. Following advice from the 2012 Panel, Mr Roberts also asked grower groups to nominate growers from a broader cross-section of the industry to increase the diversity within the 2015 Panel. From this group the Panel chairman selected seven individuals who represent the wide range of woolgrower interests, as required in the Regulations. All states have a representative on the Panel. A representative from government and one from AWI are also included in the ten-member Panel. THE 2015 PANEL • Will Roberts (Qld) Panel chair • Georgina Wallace (Tas) Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders • Richard Halliday (SA) WoolProducers Australia • Bindi Murray (WA) Western Australian Farmers Federation • Adele Offley (NSW) NSW Farmers • Ian Feldtmann (Vic) Victorian Farmers Federation • Robert Ingram (NSW) Australian Wool Growers Association • Syd Lawrie (SA) Livestock SA • Fran Freeman Federal Department of Agriculture • Meredith Sheil (NSW) AWI Board 2015 WoolPoll Panel members will work closely with their respective organisations and networks to ensure the broad range of woolgrower interests are accounted for in discussions on the 2015 poll. The Panel will meet for the first time on 26 March 2015. In late 2014 the Senate Rural Affairs committee launched an Inquiry into agricultural levies for R&D and marketing in all rural industries. The Inquiry is due to report in June 2015, however key themes of the Inquiry to date have been: accountability of levies collected and spent, transparency of processes, and the ability to account for all levy payers. The committee has shown great interest in both the WoolPoll and DairyPoll models. Representing the newest models within the rural Research & Development Corporations, AWI and Dairy Australia are required by Regulations to conduct the poll of all eligible levy payers, and importantly to include a zero options, meaning growers have the ultimate ability to vote down the levies. WOOLPOLL PANEL 2015 LEFT The 2015 WoolPoll Panel chairman is Queensland woolgrower Will Roberts