WA wool voice needed: Campbell

28 Mar, 2002 07:00 PM
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NATIONAL wool policy was being driven without WA because it wasn't part of WoolProducers, according to its president Simon Campbell.

Speaking at the WAFarmers conference, Mr Campbell said the Federal Government was also thriving on having a split industry, yet again.

"WoolProducers must have a WA view," he said.

Mr Campbell said national wool representation was the only major hole in WAFarmers national agricultural linkage.

"You are there for bees, dairy, sheepmeats and the National Farmers Federation main council but you do not have cover for issues that affect wool, which is 11pc of your agricultural exports," he said.

He said WA woolgrowers were among the most innovative and least hidebound in Australia, continually preventing fresh perspectives on how to do wool business.

Mr Campbell said he was aware of WAFarmers financial difficulties.

Nevertheless, he said at least one of WA's State Farm organisations should be able to say that national wool representation, costing $100 per member, was available through membership.

He said another way for WA to gain a seat on WoolProducers was to get support from 15pc of WA woolgrowers to put forward a candidate and request an election.

WoolProducers has half its executive elected on a State basis and half directly elected.

The core business of WoolProducers included a levy accountability watchdog role over levies to organisations such as Australian Wool Innovation, Animal Health Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Mr Campbell said that by not being signed up to WoolProducers, WA woolgrowers could miss out on wool compensation for the value of wool in the event of an exotic disease outbreak such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

He said the wool component might be 100pc of the value of sheep in an FMD outbreak.

He said WoolProducers was the only industry body, which had agreed to fund compensation for the value of wool in the event of an exotic disease outbreak.

However, it was still undecided how the compensation would be funded, perhaps through a zero-rated levy, he said.

Mr Campbell said later that in the outbreak of a disease each State would pay for each other although technically there would be no compensation if a national agreement hadn't been signed.

WoolProducers, which successfully lobbied for the new sheep CRC, had the right to appoint two directors and also had a seat on the Australian Wool Testing Authority board.

Mr Campbell said in the absence of a WA presence in WoolProducers, the national wool agenda was being set by Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria, with three of these States with less sheep than WA.

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