​Media Release

Release of independent review into Australian Wool Innovation

9 July 2018

  • Independent review into the performance and governance of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) released
  • The review found AWI does some things well but needs to modernise, move to a skills-based board, improve transparency of proxy voting and limit board members to 10 years' tenure
  • Minister Littleproud calls on AWI to show leadership; implement all 82 recommendations​

The independent review into the performance and governance of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has been released, making 82 recommendations to reform and modernise the organisation.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the wool industry was performing well and it should be acknowledged AWI had played a role in that.

"The EY review says AWI has achieved much for growers and also that AWI has areas to work on," Minister Littleproud said.

"The review provides a roadmap to modernise AWI and I ask and expect AWI will take a genuine leadership role in delivering the recommendations.

"Doing so will benefit both the organisation and wool growers.

"EY made 82 recommendations and it is my expectation AWI board members will be strong leaders and implement all of them."

Key recommendations include:

  • Improvement in strategic planning, communication with stakeholders and stakeholder engagement
  • Moving to a skills-based board
  • A maximum of 10 years on the board for board members
  • Transparency around use of proxy votes during board elections
  • Breaches of the code of conduct by board members to be investigated independently, not by AWI.

"I'll be writing to AWI to make my expectations clear," Minister Littleproud said.

"I expect the AWI board to show strong leadership and work with woolgrowers to implement change, including cultural change. While some recommendations have personal implications for board members, I expect that the AWI board will act in the best interests of the organisation and levy payers, to better position AWI to support the wool industry for the future.

"Woolgrowers pay levies towards AWI and the Government provides AWI with $15 million in direct investment annually. Woolgrowers expect and deserve the best possible research and marketing, governance and performance.

"EY called for AWI to immediately implement the review with vigour and in a consultative manner, and I support this. I expect recommendations requiring constitutional change to be ready for this year's AGM in November.

"I also call on stakeholders to work constructively with AWI to implement the review.

"I expect AWI to provide early and regular assurance to woolgrowers about its implementation of the review's recommendations, and the government will closely monitor progress."

For more information and a copy of the review visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/innovation/awi-performance-review.

Fast Facts

  • The Minister announced the review on 27 February 2018, to be made available to levy payers ahead of this year's WoolPoll.
  • EY conducted interviews with 110 stakeholders, including woolgrowers; received 56 written submissions and conducted a survey of over 400 woolgrowers.
  • The AWI annual general meeting will be held late this year. The Woolpoll vote will occur over six weeks finishing in November and board elections will be held next year.