AWI pushes 2pc levy in grower webinar

AWI pushes 2pc levy in grower webinar

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Wool producers have until November 5 to vote in this year's WoolPoll.

Wool producers have until November 5 to vote in this year's WoolPoll.

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Australian Wool Innovation's chairman Jock Laurie has reiterated the body's push for voters to support a levy of 2 per cent in this year's WoolPoll.

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Australian Wool Innovation's chairman Jock Laurie has reiterated the body's push for voters to support a levy of 2 per cent in this year's WoolPoll.

Speaking in a webinar held on Thursday, Mr Laurie said following the last 1.5pc levy, AWI cut projects by an equal dollar amount.

"We also got hit by COVID, which made it very difficult and so we chose to protect the levy funds... and not waste them in an environment we didn't know," he said.

"So we felt fairly anxious about that and obviously the company has been downsized substantially during that period of time, which has removed the capacity out of the company to be able to deliver.

"Now we are nervous about the size of the company, we know we have to reinvest in some areas, especially overseas and really build the capacity up there because we've got huge challenges overseas and we'll obviously look at doing that.

"The new board, whoever the board is, will need to be very strategic about their investment. Once the levy determination is made, they'll be clear about how they can set budgets, what the funding will be ... obviously then we will have to start looking at how best to deal with that.

"The difference is now we are coming off a three-year 1.5 pc... if we went into another 1.5pc, we've already resized the company, we can now look at strategically investing in certain areas."

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Mr Laurie said areas in critical need of investment included mulesing and flystrike issues, and the shearing industry.

"But at the same time... we've got huge challenges internationally and there are areas in there that we can't skimp spend, we really need to invest, we need to continue to create demand for our product, we need to our product in the environmental product footprint labelling in the EU as it stands at the moment," he said.

"And you can't just cut those programs and say we're not going to invest in them if we don't have money, so we need to prioritise, we need to understand the critical areas of investment and we need to invest in those areas.

"There's going to be a huge challenge to the board, no matter what the levy decision is."

Previously WoolProducers Australia has said it believes a 1.5pc levy is sufficient to carry out AWI's work.

Levy payers will have until close of business on November 5 to cast their WoolPoll vote.

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