Wool tax in the spotlight

30 Jul, 2003 10:00 PM
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THE PGA and WAFarmers will decide next week on what rate they will recommend their members support for the 2003 WoolPoll.

WAFarmers will discuss the rate at its wool council meeting on Monday after studying supporting documentation for each rate provided by AWI.

WAFarmers wool president Dale Park said the organisation was considering a 2pc levy.

PGA wool chairman Digby Stretch said the PGA would also make a decision on the rate at a meeting next week.

The PGA backed a zero levy at the last wool poll.

Meanwhile, the WoolPoll panel running the grower vote on what the wool research and development levy should be for the three years has launched a campaign to persuade as many growers as possible to vote.

It wants a better turnout than the last poll in 2000, when almost 50pc of eligible growers voted.

At the launch in Sydney last Thursday, WoolPoll panel chairman John Keniry said the levy represented a substantial investment by individual woolgrowers in the future of their industry.

"It's wool levy payers' money and it's important wool levy payers' business," he said.

Growers will vote on whether the levy should be zero, 1pc, 1.5pc, 2pc or 3pc of the gross value of their wool production. The current levy is 2pc.

The vote will be optional-preferential which means growers can tick their choices in order of preference.

A voting kit to be sent to eligible growers on September 25 will include Australian Wool Innovation's recommendation for a levy rate.

It will also proide details of AWI's income and expenditure during the past three years and will explain the research and development strategy that AWI would implement for each levy rate in the poll.

But Dr Keniry said investment in each area of research would not decline in proportion as the levy rate dropped and there would be prioritisation.

The six areas of spending nominated were product development, industry services (including market information), research into the wool pipeline beyond the farm gate, sheep and wool research, land and feed research and extension and education.

He said it would be AWI's decision but it could be assumed the areas of research that would continue as the levy dropped would be on-farm research and development.

Voting will close on November 7 and the result is expected to be announced on November 18.

Wool growers will have one vote for each $100 of wool levy they have paid in past three financial years.

Dr Keniry said every grower who had sold wool through an Australian Business Numbers (ABN) would be eligible to vote and the voting register would close on September 12.

He said to help encourage growers to vote the panel would run a public relations and media campaign, use targeted advertisements, have a call centre for frequently asked questions and from early October would run a series of grower meetings.

Growers can find more information at www.woolpoll2003.com.au

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