AGRICULTURE Minister David Littleproud has not ruled out winding up Australian Wool Innovation if it does not provide an implementation plan for 82 corporate governance recommendations by October 19.
Speaking at the Rural Press Club in Brisbane today, Mr Littleproud said he expected AWI chairman Wal Merriman and his board to provide leadership.
“I get sick of industries coming to me, expecting me to lead for them,” Mr Littleproud said.
“I expect them to show the leadership, their levy payers expect them to show the leadership.
“We have a pathway forward. There are some challenging recommendations that need to be addressed.”
All of our research and development organisations need to be fit for the future.
Mr Littleproud said it was also time for some of the personalities involved to leave, to take the politics out of AWI, and to enable leadership.
The October 19 deadline was imposed on the recalcitrant organisation after it announced it was seeking to delay implementing key recommendations.
These included limited board members to a maximum of 10 years service.
The 82 recommendations are contained in a far-reaching 500 page 'Independent Review of Australian Wool Innovation’ report conducted by advisory company Ernst and Young.
“I have had a number of conversations with the chairman,” Mr Littleproud said.
“My expectation as the government and a levy payer myself is we move to address them.”
Mr Littleproud said he had reached out to his opposition counterpart Joel Fitzgibbon to ensure any reform of AWI was done in a bipartisan way.
“Because I think it is important that any reform that happens, and if government is to get involved, is done in a bipartisan manner particularly as it is RDC body.
Mr Littleproud said Australia had a great wool industry.
“For the first time in decades the industry is making a quid and I think those farmers, many of whom I represent in Western Queensland, expect that leadership to take it to a new level,” Mr Littleproud said.
“All of our research and development organisations need to be fit for the future.”
This story first appeared on Queensland Country Life.