Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has just over one month to provide an implementation plan for all 82 recommendations laid out by a review into its governance before Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud steps in.
The October 19 deadline comes after AWI chairman Wal Merriman sent a letter out to industry stakeholders last month calling on support to delay a vote on constitutional changes, including whether directors should be limited to a 10-year tenure.
Mr Merriman said to avoid clashing with WoolPoll on November 2, AWI wished to address nine specific recommendations “early next year” at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), rather than at the Annual General Meeting on November 23, this year.
Mr Littleproud said he was aware that AWI had raised the possibility of taking a number of recommendations to shareholders at an EGM next year, but that he looked forward to the industry group submitting its implementation plan to the department by October 19.
“I expect AWI to show strong leadership in implementing all recommendations according to the timeline laid out by Ernst & Young in their independent report,” Mr Littleproud said.
He said last week that he did not ask Mr Merriman to send the letter, rather suggested he take feedback from his stakeholders.
AWI said after a board meeting on Thursday and Friday last week, the constitutional matters contained in the report had been actioned and will be presented as resolutions to shareholders to vote upon. AWI did not disclose when this information would be shared but said it would “continue to work with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Resources on this matter”.
It said the board believes the actions will offer “a way forward to take the industry to a new level for the future”.
The board meeting came after last Wednesday’s deadline for industry stakeholders to provide feedback on whether they believed a delay was necessary. AWI did not disclose what feedback was received.
AWI said 85 per cent of the 82 recommendations were underway, with a number already completed. A spokesperson said this progress was proof AWI had embraced the recommendations.