Eastern States nominations dominate this year’s WoolProducers independent director elections

Headshot of Aidan Smith
Aidan SmithCountryman
A freshly-shorn fleece.
Camera IconA freshly-shorn fleece. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

WA woolgrowers will be left with just one representative on the WoolProducers Australia board for the next two years, after five Eastern States woolgrowers put their hand up for three positions ahead of the November independent director elections.

WAFarmers president John Hassell will step down from the WoolProducers board after reaching his six-year term limit in November, while WPA vice-president Stacey Lugsdin of New South Wales and incumbent Simon Riddle have both re-nominated for the board.

WAFarmers vice-president Steve McGuire ended his six-year term in March and was replaced by WA’s Makaela Knapp.

The high number of nominees has forced the nation’s peak industry body to hold a contested election, with voting conducted electronically for the first time using independent voting solutions company Vero Voting.

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WoolProducers president Steve Harrison said the level of interest in the elections was “pleasing for the organisation” and provided member woolgrowers with the opportunity to vote on who they thought would best represent their interests in national policy setting.

Nominations were received from Ms Lugsdin and Mr Riddle, as well as two New South Wales farmers, Angus Hobson and Skye Ward, as well as Victorian farmers Helen Carrigan — a former WPA director.

WoolProducers Australia president Steve Harrison.
Camera IconWoolProducers Australia president Steve Harrison. Credit: EXCLUSIVEIMAGES JENNIFER NAGY/RegionalHUB

“We are really pleased to have five great candidates vying for election to our board,” Mr Harrison said.

“The independent directors add a lot to our discussions and overall culture of our board and organisation.”

Mr Hassell said he had enjoyed being part of WPA and had set his sights on the role of National Farmers’ Federation vice-president, a role which would will be announced at the end of October.

He supported the move by WPA to an electronic voting system, to make it easier for woolgrowers to be involved.

“We need to better utilise the tools in our hands, like our phones,” Mr Hassell said.

“That way people don’t have to travel hours and more people can participate in the process.”

He was not concerned that all five nominees for the positions were from the Eastern States as Ms Knapp was doing “an exceptional job” representing WA.

WAFarmers president John Hassell.
Camera IconWAFarmers president John Hassell. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

The successful candidates become directors of WPA as part of its executive, with term positions of two years.

Candidate ballot statements are available, along with the ballot paper, and on the woolproducers.com.au website under the heading director elections.

All woolgrowers who are direct members of WPA or are members of a State farm organisation affiliated with WPA , including WAFarmers, are eligible to vote.

For those unable to vote via email, a voice message can be left at 02 6110 2067 by close of business on October 16 with name, phone number and State farming organisation for an alternative voting method to be arranged.

Close of voting is Friday, November 3, with results declared at the 2023 WPA annual general meeting on November 9.

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