WA woolgrowers pushed for lower levies

By Mal Gill
December 20 2021 - 6:00am
According to figures prepared for AWI by Link Market Services, which conducted WoolPoll 2021, WA support for zero wool levy was 8.07pc and support for a levy rate of 1pc of gross wool income was 26.32pc.

MORE Western Australian woolgrowers voted for the zero wool levy option in the latest WoolPoll than anywhere else in Australia, figures released this week by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) showed.

WA woolgrowers also supported the next lowest wool levy option of 1pc more than anywhere else in Australia.

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According to figures prepared for AWI by Link Market Services, which conducted WoolPoll 2021, WA support for zero wool levy was 8.07pc and support for a levy rate of 1pc of gross wool income was 26.32pc.

Comparable statistics from the other main wool-producing States were 4.99pc and 15.48pc in New South Wales, 5.88pc and 15.66pc in Victoria and 3.16pc and 18.98pc in South Australia.

Support in WA for extension of the 1.5pc wool levy rate - which was ultimately the rate chosen by a clear majority of woolgrowers last month and will apply from July 1 next year for three more years - was 46.4pc, similar to the level of support registered in other States.

But WA support for AWI's preferred 2pc levy option was lower than the 31.15pc support in NSW, 28.9pc in Victoria and 28.7pc in SA.

WA's support level of just 0.96pc for the highest levy rate option of 2.5pc - added by AWI beyond the statutory requirements - was also the lowest in the country.

In NSW support for 2.5pc levy rate was 2.6pc, in Victoria it was 2.56pc and in SA it was 1.52pc, according to Link Marketing's figures.

Three years ago, after woolgrowers voted at WoolPoll 2018 for the first time to reduce the wool levy rate from 2pc which it had been since the inaugural WoolPoll, some AWI staff indicated they believed WA woolgrowers had led the push for a lower levy rate.

Local woolgrowers then said they feared a funding cut retribution for WA by AWI but, apart from some local staff changes, funding for support packages like shearer and wool handler training schools, has been maintained in WA.

Link Marketing's statistics also showed that despite an increased AWI campaign to raise voter awareness for WoolPoll 2021, only 20.48pc of the woolgrowers nationally who were entitled to vote, exercised that right.

Also, only 44.14pc of the theoretical 1.34 million votes that could have been lodged, were actually received and validated - the more woolgrowers pay in wool levy, the more votes they are entitled to.

Both the number of valid voters - 9530 - and the percentage of valid votes received in WoolPoll 2021 were the lowest for the seven WoolPolls held since 2003.

According to Link Marketing, the 46,541 woolgrowers who had paid $100 or more in wool levy in the previous three years and were entitled to vote at WoolPoll 2021 was less than the number entitled to vote at 2018, 2006 and 2003 WoolPolls.

But it was more than those entitled to vote at 2015, 2012 and 2009 WoolPolls.

The best WoolPoll participation AWI has ever achieved was 41.72pc of eligible voters voting and 60.94pc of possible eligible votes being cast, in 2012.

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