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Freeze Wool Board Reserves - Meat & Wool Section

The Meat and Wool Section of Federated Farmers shares MP Owen Jennings' concern about Wool Board plans for the future of the Wool Board's Reserves.

The Board has advised the Meat and Wool section that they intend to reconstitute the Board into an Incorporated Society.

"There may be justification for such a move. However, we consider that such a move is premature given the uncertainty surrounding the Board's future. Similarly we consider any other long-term commitment of growers money is ill advised," said Section Chairman Chris Lester.

"During recent meetings, the Board has asked growers for approval to use part of the reserves as venture capital in the processing and marketing chain. I do not believe that they have the required mandate for this proposal."

"Wool Board Chairman Bruce Munro believes that the Board should involve itself in biotechnology research and development on farmers' behalf. Again, the Board must realise that they have no such mandate to spend farmers' money on such non-core activities."

"The Meat and Wool Section's view is that growers must call the shots, not the Board. The only way to achieve this is through the deregulation process. This will involve repealing the existing Board statute and adopting processes which utilise the fundamental principles contained in the Commodity Levies Act 1993."

"Most importantly, this will involve a referendum which provides the opportunity for grower levy payers to "call the shots", as Mr Jennings aptly puts it."

"The reserves are the property of wool growers. The Board has no farmer mandate to determine the destiny of those reserves. Our policy, which is widely supported by farmers, is that the reserves should be "frozen" throughout the reform process. Once the future shape of any industry organisation is known, the debate about how to use the reserves should occur," concluded Mr Lester.

ENDS

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