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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
4 OFF FARM WOOLPOLL 2015 MESSAGE FROM THE PANEL CHAIRMAN Farmers and politicians alike have been discussing recently the value and benefit of levy investment, and the industry structures and processes of collecting these levies. Of particular interest to woolgrowers has been the Senate Inquiry into industry structures and systems governing levies for research and development (R&D) and marketing in the agriculture sector. Among other things, the Senate examined opportunities levy payers across all industries have to set and review the rate of levy and influence investment. We’re fortunate in the wool industry to have an opportunity every three years to have a say on the level of levy rate we want to pay. It’s an opportunity many others in farming are fighting hard for. It’s a chance we should not forego. Woolgrowers can vote from 14 September until 30 October 2015. The 2015 WoolPoll Panel – a diverse and independent group of growers charged with overseeing the levy vote – is encouraging every woolgrower to take the time now to discuss this important decision with business partners and family. Put simply, it’s a decision about how much of your annual wool income you want invested in research, development and marketing over the next three years. Now is the time to think about the value of that investment, and what it has and will continue to contribute to the industry as a whole, and your business individually. An independent Review of Performance was recently conducted into AWI and I encourage growers to read the summary of the findings to assist in making their decision at WoolPoll. Every farmer who has paid wool levies of $100 or more in the past three years – whether they run predominantly Merinos, produce prime lambs or have a mixed farming operation – is eligible to vote. WoolPoll Panel members come from a range of wool-growing properties, spread across the country. We recognise paying a wool levy means different things to different people and businesses, and we encourage you to attend an AWI Roadshow event to have your individual questions answered. Events will be held in more than 20 locations across the country – the dates and locations are on the WoolPoll website (and on the page opposite). They are a great opportunity to talk with AWI about local issues and opportunities, and hear about investment priorities for the next three years. If you’re not able to get to an event, make sure you take a look at the woolpoll.com.au website from 28 August to find all the necessary information to make an informed vote. The Panel has worked hard to make sure the actual process of voting is as simple as possible in 2015. In late August you will receive a voter entitlement letter. Double check the details and call the voter helpline on 1800 113 373 if your entitlement needs updating. Once the vote opens, you’ll have the option of voting in the traditional manner – by post – or at the click of a button on woolpoll.com.au I encourage you to have a chat with your neighbours and mates about the WoolPoll vote, read the Voter Information Memorandum from cover to cover, and keep an eye out for other opportunities to see and hear how AWI has been investing your levy. And when your voting papers arrive in the mail, I encourage you to vote straight away. Voting closes on October 30. Make the most of the opportunity. WILL ROBERTS Chairman of the WoolPoll 2015 Panel and woolgrower from Queensland “Woolgrowers are a really diverse bunch of people, including women and family operations, all enthusiastic. We’re all busy but voting is a very simple process and only takes a few minutes – and we should all have a say.” BINDI MURRAY WoolPoll 2015 Panel member and woolgrower from WA “Younger growers have an enormous amount to offer as they are the future of this industry. We all have different ideas and should have a say in the conversation now. So step up and get involved.” ADELE OFFLEY WoolPoll 2015 Panel member and woolgrower from NSW “I am a sixth generation wool producer on the same holding. I am proud of this magnificent, resilient, beautiful fibre we produce. The levy is about the future. Our vote is a family decision because it’s all about my son and grandson’s future.” ROBERT INGRAM WoolPoll 2015 Panel member and woolgrower from NSW “We encourage all woolgrowers – from young to old, from ultrafine to broad – to vote in the 2015 WoolPoll. As a levy payer you have the right to vote and have a say in the future of our wonderful industry. It’s your hard earned money so exercise your right to vote and set the levy.” GEORGINA WALLACE WoolPoll 2015 Panel member and woolgrower from Tasmania