Peak woolgrower representative body WoolProducers Australia will advocate for growers to vote for a 1.5 per cent levy in this year's WoolPoll.
It comes following Australian Wool Innovation releasing the Voter Information Memorandum online on Wednesday, with WoolProducers saying the information indicates that 1.5pc would be enough for AWI to conduct their operations.
Woolgrowers will have the option of voting for five different levy rates- 0pc, 1pc, 1.5pc, 2pc or 2.5pc.
The information package sets out what activities AWI would maintain and which it would cut if the levy were decreased, what would be done with an unchanged levy and what additional activities would be carried out if the levy rate increased.
Among the promised outcomes of an increased levy rate are investment in next generation initiatives, broader international profiling and insights within major traditional and emerging markets, expanding education and process innovation activities, marketing campaigns promoting eco-credentials and performance benefits, hiring more high-profile ambassadors for Merino wool and increased investment across all traceability programs.
Activities at risk of reduced investment under a reduced levy rate include wool harvesting technologies, shearer and woolhandler training, practical sheep skills and tertiary education initiatives, traceability initiatives, grower engagement, extension networks and sponsorships or events.
WoolProducers President Ed Storey said according to the VIM, AWI have forecast reserves for the end of the 2021 financial year of $106.2 million.
"This does not align with the narrative that AWI needs more money to conduct basic research, development and marketing," he said.
Mr Storey said pointed to AWI's previous comments that extra funding was needed for projects including research and development for the flystrike vaccine, lobbying the EU for fair labelling laws for wool, shearer and wool handler training, increasing wool's use and marketing campaigns for the Northern Hemisphere.
"WoolProducers believes that these should be standard activities for AWI and if they need 2pc to conduct these functions, you would have to question what they are doing with 1.5pc that they currently receive?"
"In light of the information in the VIM, AWI simply have not made a strong enough case for WoolProducers to support a levy increase."
Mr Storey said their support for the 1.5pc levy rate isn't a negative recommendation, but "reflects that 1.5% was an adequate amount of levy to be paid by woolgrowers that has enabled AWI to continue to operate".
"Again, considering the VIM, which outlines numerous key achievements of AWI over the last three years, this was achievable with 1.5pc, WoolProducers therefore believes that 1.5% is appropriate going forward, particularly in light of forecast increased production," he said.
WoolProducers have also urged disgruntled levy payers who are considering voting for a cut in the levy to consider the value of research, development and marketing for the longevity of the industry and vote to maintain the 1.5pc levy.
"If you want to change the direction of AWI, make sure you are a registered shareholder and make your vote count in the upcoming AWI director elections to vote for change," Mr Storey said.
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