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Abolition of Wool Board in Private Member's Bill

ACT MP Owen Jennings, a longstanding critic of the Wool Board, has written a Private Members Bill that would abolish the board.

"The board has forfeited its mandate to control the industry," Mr Jennings said. "It is has a history of failed attempts to improve wool prices. The board's recent efforts to re-vitalise itself are failing. It's time for it to go.

"Despite a clear direction from growers in nationwide votes that they no longer had confidence in the board, its directors and senior management have continued to high-handedly dictate the future of the industry. Growers don't want another board-designed and dominated structure to replace the present arrangements.

"Despite promises to wind up the board and follow the recommendations of the McKinsey report, it's now obvious some senior industry leaders have no such intentions and are seeking to re-invent themselves by whatever means to maintain their positions," Mr Jennings said.

"My bill abolishes the board, disperses the reserves to growers and puts the remaining functions into the hands of a grower trust.

"Growers are well able to determine what future arrangements they want for marketing their product, and for research and development. The Commodity Levies Act is a suitable vehicle for groups of growers to use if they want to invest in researching improvements for the future.

"It's time to move on. Growers have sunk literally billions of dollars over many decades into the board. Countless schemes have been conceived and introduced by the board, all promising to improve the steadily eroding wool price. Few have succeeded to any degree.

"The monopoly powers have created an arrogance in recent years that has led to self preservation actions and deliberate attempts to derail grower initiatives that may have shown up the board's failures.

"I look forward to the support of the House in getting this legislation passed, to open up the opportunity for growers to take new initiatives based on their needs - a bottom-up driven approach that will meet grower needs," Mr Jennings said.


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