AUSTRALIAN wool producers are about to vote on how much of their income they give to Australian Wool Innovation Ltd for its research, development and marketing activities.
The growers will choose from five levy rates – three per cent, 2.5 per cent, two per cent, 1.5 per cent and zero per cent.
AWI Board member Jock Laurie says AWI’s recommendation is to maintain the current levy rate at two per cent.
Wool producers wanted a one-per-cent option, but this was not included.
“We believe two per cent is the optimum level to balance our financial responsibility with our capacity to deliver benefits for growers,” Laurie says.
“Many woolgrowers are taking advantage of the current good prices and investing back into their businesses – because we all know that choosing to invest when times are good enables wool growers to future-proof their business and build resilience.
“Similarly, AWI is committed to safeguarding against future downturns, and invest in ‘big-ticket’ activities which might otherwise not be possible.”
With 98 per cent of all Australian wool exported, AWI says wool-growers need all hands-on deck across the global supply chain.
“Without consumer education and awareness, people wouldn’t choose to buy Australian wool.” Laurie says.
A cut to the levy leaves no room in the budget to prepare for tomorrow – which, he adds, is critical given the historically volatile and cyclical nature of wool prices.
Wool growers vote every three years on the levy.
Anyone who has paid at least A$100 (£57.24) worth of wool levies over the past three years is eligible to vote when the poll opens on September 17, running until November 2.
Wool Producers Australia pre-sident Richard Halliday says AWI has not listened to growers.
His group wanted zero per cent, one per cent, 1.5 per cent, two per cent and 2.5 per cent for the levy vote, saying this would give growers a range of incremental options.