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AUS: Minister Encourages Wool Industry Reform


18 AUGUST 1999

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, today confirmed his commitment to continuing the pace of reform of the wool industry, which includes changes to the structure of the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation (AWRAP).

The full report of the wool industry Future Directions Task Force will be released today.

The Task Force recommendations are broadly consistent with the Government's policy of encouraging increased ownership and leadership within industry for its future.

"The Government is committed to real change in wool, and is willing to consider ideas on changes to AWRAP, the level and use of statutory levies and other recommendations by the Task Force," Mr Truss said.

The Minister indicated he is considering the recommendations for Government and is closely following industry discussion of the recommendations.

"I understand the overall response from industry towards the recommendations has been positive. I have been consulting widely with woolgrowers and exploring the practical ways of advancing reform and implementing worthwhile change as soon as practicable," Mr Truss said.

In light of the proposed recommendations for changes to the AWRAP structure, the Minister has decided not to fill the remaining AWRAP Board positions at this stage. A quorum currently exists which allows the Board to operate effectively.

"The Taskforce report clearly recommends a phasing out of AWRAP, to be replaced by a new body. Consequently I have decided not to fill the current board vacancies at this stage," he said.

"I would like to see industry take a leadership role in the implementation of the Task Force recommendations.

"I have asked industry to come back to me within a month with suggestions on how and when the ballot may be undertaken to determine woolgrower preferences for future levy payments."

Mr Truss said he looks forward to receiving the considered views of industry on how it believes these important findings and recommendations might be advanced.

Please note: the report is available on the Internet at the Wool Task Force's website.

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