Jock Laurie appointed Australian Wool Innovation chair

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
The wool industry’s marketing, research and innovation body AWI has appointed a NSW farmer as its chairman.
Camera IconThe wool industry’s marketing, research and innovation body AWI has appointed a NSW farmer as its chairman. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

New South Wales farmer anf former National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie has been appointed Australian Wool Innovation chairman, replacing Colette Garnsey, who steps down from the role after three years.

Mr Laurie, who has been on the AWI board since 2015, will step into his new role effective immediately to ensure a smooth transition and knowledge transfer ahead of the wool marketing and research bodies annual general meeting on November 19.

Ms Garnsey, who has served on the board for 10 years and spent the past three years in the top role, had announced her intention to retire at the AGM in March.

But AWI revealed today that Ms Garnsey had stepped down from the chairwoman role but would board as a director until the AGM to ensure an orderly handover.

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AWI chairman Jock Laurie.
Camera IconAWI chairman Jock Laurie. Credit: Australian Wool Innovation/Australian Wool Innovation

Mr Laurie and his family have a farming business that consist of wool, lamb, beef and grain on properties in Walcha, Bendemeer and Gunnedah in New South Wales.

He served as president at National Farmers Federation from 2010 to 2013, and as president of the New South Wales Farmers Association from 2006 to 2009.

“I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead AWI given its critical role in supporting an industry I have been involved in all my life,” Mr Laurie said.

“I look forward to working with the board, management and the entire AWI team to continue our mission to support Australian woolgrowers on farm and in international markets.

“On behalf of Australian woolgrowers, I would like to thank Colette for her contribution to the wool industry through her role as chairwoman and as a director of AWI.

“Colette’s understanding of the industry beyond the farm gate has been of great value to the industry.”

Ms Garnsey said she was proud to have served Australian woolgrowers on the AWI board for the past decade.

“AWI is blessed with wonderful people on the board and among the whole team, working every day for Australian woolgrowers,” she said.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served this very fine industry and for the honour of serving as chairwoman of AWI.

“AWI has important work to do and I am certain we are well positioned to do it.

“I will stay on as a director until the AGM to provide board continuity and to support Jock as he transitions into the Chairman’s role.

“I have every confidence that Jock will be a tremendous leader of AWI given his depth of experience and passion for our industry.”

Ahead of the November 19 AGM, AWI’s wool levy payers will have the opportunity decide any changes to their levy rate through their WoolPoll vote, scheduled to open September 13 and close November 5.

The levy rate is determined by the WoolPoll vote every three years.

At the last WoolPoll in 2018, woolgrowers voted to reduce the levy paid to AWI from 2 per cent to 1 per cent, which came into effect on July 1, 2019.

The levy options are currently being considered for approval by the Federal Government and will be available to woolgrowers when the WoolPoll voter packs are mailed out.

At the AGM, a director election will take place and Ms Garnsey’s position will be replaced. A minimum of two other directors are required to stand for re-election.

The directors to stand for re-election will be named about a month before the AGM.

A vote to change AWI’s constitution will also be conducted to decide if a maximum 10-year director tenure be added to its charter as recommended from the 2018 Review of Performance.

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