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AWI set for changes

Bob GarnantCountryman
Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie.
Camera IconFederal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie. Credit: Josh Fernandes

Australian Wool Innovation shareholders will be expecting a clear work in progress report from the wool body’s chairwoman Colette Garnsey on the pending Ernst & Young’s recommendations at tomorrow’s AWI annual meeting.

The 2018 E&Y review of AWI’s performance and governance, which was ordered by then-Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud, made 82 recommendations for change.

In a scathing letter, dated October 22, addressed to Ms Garnsey, Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie, pictured, said she expected AWI to provide levy payers with a time-table for how it intends to address any outstanding recommendations, including those that relate to constitutional change that were not being presented at the AGM. In the letter, Senator McKenzie said she expected the AWI board to demonstrate to its levy payers that the organisation was “serious about change, including cultural change”.

“AWI’s actions to date to implement the review have not met these expectations,” the letter said.

“I ask you (AWI) to provide me with a detailed written update on progress against each of the individual recommendations and their components.”

Senator McKenzie also said she expected AWI to provide her with a response to her letter outlining a communication strategy for how it would provide a greater level of transparency and assurance to levy payers about its implementation of the review and its broader operations.

In what will be one of the most controversial AWI AGMs, where a minimum 10-year board tenure is on the constitutional change agenda, eight candidates are standing for three positions, which will be determined by the meeting’s conclusion.

The candidates are Paul Cocking, Janelle Hocking Edwards, George Falk-iner, Noel Henderson, Philip Holmes, Michelle Humphries and current AWI directors Wal Merriman and David Webster.

Both Mr Merriman and Mr Webster, who have been on the board since 2004 and 2008 respect-ively, would be ineligible to stand if the proposed 10-year tenure, recommended by the E&Y review, was voted in.

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