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Beyond the Bale : December 2018
Colette Garnsey OAM Chairman Australian Wool Innovation A LETTER FROM THE NEW AWI MS COLETTE GARNSEY OAM CHAIRMAN My name is Colette Garnsey, and I have recently been appointed as the new Chairman of AWI. I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the changes under way at AWI to strengthen your company by ensuring you, our woolgrowers, are at the forefront of everything we do. Firstly, let me thank and acknowledge the immediate past Chairman Mr Walter Merriman for his leadership and contribution to the industry. Mr Merriman’s vision for the industry was pivotal in increasing the global demand and market access for Australian wool. I step into the role of Chairman knowing the global demand for wool is stronger than ever, with our nation’s natural fibre desired by processors, retailers and customers in all parts of the globe. This gives me a great sense of pride as I represent domestic woolgrowers to our international processors and retail brand partners. My commitment to AWI’s goal is unwavering. I am committed to listening and to ensuring your views are heard at Board level. As AWI enters a new phase, my and the Board’s focus is on addressing your concerns, on doing the right thing by you, our levy payers, and on building a stronger company for the benefit of the wool industry. As a priority, we will do this by responding to, and actioning, the 82 recommendations of the Review of Performance commissioned by the Federal Government and to working through the changes required. The Board and the executive team are committed to making these changes a reality. Prior to AWI’s AGM we announced the results of WoolPoll 2018; Australian woolgrowers have voted in favour of a wool levy of 1.5 per cent. We respect our woolgrowers’ decision of 1.5 per cent and see that they believe a 1.5 per cent levy is the appropriate levy rate to be paying on their wool sales at this time. However, we are encouraged – indeed humbled – that more than 90 per cent of woolgrowers see the value in AWI’s work and are prepared to contribute towards our research, development and marketing efforts on your behalf. The 1.5 per cent levy vote does not change AWI’s resolve to working in the best interests of woolgrowers. We have the reserves to manage the balance sheet and our operations will be managed to match our funding. As woolgrowers adjust to the seasonal conditions, so will AWI adapt to the democratic choice of our levy payers. In doing this, we will make certain our operations continue to be transparent, lean and efficient. MS COLETTE GARNSEY OAM, AWI CHAIRMAN Ms Garnsey was elected by AWI shareholders to the AWI Board on 8 November 2011 and has been Deputy Chair since 2017. She was appointed as Chairman of the AWI Board on 9 November 2018 following Mr Merriman’s resignation as Chairman. Ms Garnsey – whose early childhood was spent on sheep properties in western NSW – has 39 years of retail, wholesale, distribution and marketing experience with Australia’s top brands in multiple geographies. Currently she is Non Executive Director of Flight Centre Travel Group and until recently was a Trade, Tourism and Investment Policy Advisory Council advisor to the Federal Government. Previously Ms Garnsey was executive director at Premier Investments’s The Just Group, and in senior executive positions at David Jones and Pacific Brands. She has had over 30 years’ experience in department stores and has dealt with globally successful brands and designers bringing many to Australia. Ms Garnsey has also been Advisory Board member of CSIRO 1997-2001; Advisory Board member Australian Government Innovation Council 2010- 2012; Director Australian Fashion Week 1998-2009; Judge Veuve Clicquot Business Women of the Year 2008-2014. We understand the drought conditions are affecting much of the industry and we acknowledge this will affect production going forward. Let me reassure you there is no more important time for a strong AWI working to support woolgrowers. Our industry has a positive and prosperous future. As your Chairman, I look forward to continuing to support woolgrowers here in Australia and to taking their wool to the world by continuing to build demand and positioning our beautiful fibre as the natural fibre of choice for processors, retailers and consumers around the globe. UPFRONT 3