SPECIALIST South East Queensland woolgrower David Bartlett says he was stunned by news of massive payouts to former Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) employees, saying the priority must be to develop profitable and enduring markets for woolgrowers.
The Traprock woolgrower was reacting to news that payments of up to $531,371 were made to retrenched AWI staff. (CLICK HERE to read that story.)
The payouts followed the cutting of nine positions in AWI’s Sydney headquarters last March. In addition to usual severance payouts, “human element” payments of nearly $100,000 were made in some cases.
“It is growers that pay the levies and there is an expectation that these levies will be used to develop the industry for the benefit of the levy payers,” Mr Bartlett said.
“Wool may be on a tremendous record run right now, but let’s not forget how tough this industry has done it for so long.
“Plenty of people will be putting their hands up to claim credit for the gains in wool prices.
“Some of it may be justified but the biggest driver is the very well documented global shortage of raw wool.”
Mr Bartlett runs the specialist 16,000 head Merino wether operation Dunblane near Inglewood, west of Warwick.