Australian wool industry producer groups are set for a shake up in a bid to create a more unified voice for growers.
A meeting due to be held on Friday will be the third round table to be held as part of a process kicked off by federal agriculture minister David Littleproud.
The meetings come off the back of work to reform the funding arrangements of agricultural research and development corporations, including Australian Wool Innovation, to hold them to account to government and levy payers.
Mr Littleproud said AWI was now in agreement in terms of improvements to consultation and key performance indicators and it was now time to get greater conformity within the various wool industry groups.
"There's a lot of fragmentation," he said.
"What I'm doing now is going through the process to try and get some agreement across all these groups about how they should operate and make sure they are consulting and being consulted by AWI into the future.
"I think that gives a more robust system than a fragmented approach where we've got all these groups going off in different directions.
"That's the last phase of it."
Mr Littleproud said a similar process had been undertaken with grass-fed cattle producers to develop new peak body, Cattle Australia.
"What we're saying now is the wool industry now needs to get their act together and make sure they are a strong united voice, because that holds AWI to account and gives them a stronger voice in Canberra," he said.
"I've asked former senator John "Wacka" Williams to chair a roundtable of these industry groups that do see a need for a united front on this, rather than a fragmented approach and bring them together to try to knock out a pathway.
"That may not necessarily mean there's one body but if nothing else it's an agreement of how they should work together to make sure that they are representing wool producers across a number of different aspects of the industry."
Mr Littleproud said he was trying to facilitate reform without getting in the middle of agripolitics and it was up to the industry groups to determine what kind of changes were needed.
"This is an opportunity for the wool industry to leave egos at the door, to leave history at the door and set a pathway for a new direction that actually gets back to first principles, which is representing the wool producers and making sure they have a strong voice in Canberra representing them and that they have a strong voice making sure their R & D dollars are being spent appropriately," he said.
Groups involved in discussions include WoolProducers Australia, the Australian Wool Growers Association, the Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association, the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders, Pastoralists and Graziers of WA, ASHEEP, MerinoLink, the Commercial Merino Ewe Competitions Association, NSW Stud Merino Breeders Association and WA Stud Merino Breeders Association
WoolProducers CEO Jo Hall said the organisation was looking forward to meeting with other industry groups and the Department of Agriculture to try to resolve a way forward to have a more unified industry voice.
"The wool industry historically has been quite fragmented," she said.
"Our industry is currently facing a lot of challenges and we can't afford not to be unified going forward."
Australian Wool Innovation chief executive John Roberts said AWI fully supports the move to have an industry wide roundtable.
"We hope the discussions are productive," he said.
"AWI will continue to work closely with wool industry groups on behalf of Australia's woolgrowers."
Mr Littleproud said he believed that there had been improvement at AWI in terms of their culture and transparency.
"I think the opportunity now sits with AWI to continue to improve that culture and engagement and not be as polarising," he said.
"I think the change of leadership to Jock Laurie has been a good one and he now needs to be given the opportunity to continue on that pathway.
"We've got to understand that things won't change immediately overnight but I think what's been laid is a foundation stone of respect and understanding of the issues and the preliminary actions have been encouraging.
"We'll continue to watch it but what's also important is that you have peak bodies that are invested in the process as well and we can build them to a capacity that can work with AWI so we don't have this breakdown in communications and engagement that we had in the past."
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.