WESTERN Australian wool growers led a strong protest vote against paying a 2 per cent wool levy to Australian Wool Innovation.Although the 2 per cent levy option recommended by AWI in the latest WoolPoll received an absolute majority of 53.39 per cent, 29.18 per cent of votes favoured 1 per cent and 10.47 per cent favoured the zero option.
In the previous 2009 WoolPoll, the 1 per cent and zero options polled 13.5 and 14.5 per cent respectively
While a state-by-state breakdown of votes was not provided by AWI, unconfirmed reports indicated that the majority of Western Australian producers who accounted for 19 per cent of the votes, wanted the 1 per cent option.
AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough, speaking at AWI's annual meeting in Sydney today said AWI was very disappointed with the West Australian vote.
"The WA has sent us a message and we have some soul-searching to do," he said.
Mr McCullough said it was disappointing because of what he claimed were the efforts AWI had put into the West.
But Western Australian shareholder Ken Clarke, who attended today's meeting, said there was lot of resentment in the West over AWI's decision to cease funding of the genetic research Information Nucleus Flock.
AWI's decision to suspend the funding occupied much of the discussion and the questions, which were fielded by chairman Wal Merriman.