Abalone Votes 2019: Five things you need to know

Abalone Votes 2019: Five things you need to know

Dear Australian Wild Abalone Quota owner,

You are receiving this email because you are entitled to vote on whether to implement a levy to fund a consumer-focused Education and Promotion Program for five years.

To help you decide how to vote, Abalone Council Australia has created a dedicated website at www.abalonepal.com.

A range of information is available on the website so we encourage you to go there to find out what is being proposed and why.
Don’t take someone else’s word for it – find out for yourself. Make your vote count.

Here are five key things you need to know

1. What are you being asked to vote on?

Abalone Council Australia Ltd is seeking an investment by all Australian wild-caught abalone quota owners via a compulsory levy which will be in place for five years.

The proposal is to collect the levy at the rate of 1.5% of the first sale price you receive for your wild-caught abalone, collected by the processor when the product is first sold to them. This will raise approximately $12million over the five years.

The levy funds will be used to implement the proposed Consumer Education and Promotion (CEP) Program in our five key markets – Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
We aim to generate an additional $100 million of industry value (cumulative) over a five-year period representing an 8 to 1 return on investment.
For more information please download the full Levy Investment Proposal from the website www.abalonepal.com.
A hard copy of the Levy Investment Proposal is provided in your voter pack that will arrive shortly, if it hasn’t already.

2. Why has the levy been set at 1.5% and not a specific amount (for example 70c/kg)

A percentage-based levy is the most equitable way to account for price variations across different products, markets and seasons.

Regardless of the form that the product is sold in, the levy will be calculated on an equivalent ‘live in shell’ weight.

We are aiming to raise a minimum of $12million over five years and have estimated that 1.5% levy on the first sale price will achieve that target. After five years the levy amount will be reviewed.

A five year budget and detail about the activities that are proposed to be undertaken are detailed in the Consumer Education and Promotion (CEP) Program that is available for download on the website www.abalonepal.com. A hard is also included in your voter pack which should arrive shortly, if it hasn’t already.

3. Why does the processor need to collect the levy?

The most cost-efficient collection point for the proposed levy is at the processor.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Levies Unit estimates that the levy collection cost (as a percentage of the total levy funds) would be 1.4%, if it is collected by processors at the first point of sale.

If the levy were to be collected directly from quota owners, the levy collection costs would be 23.75%. This is because there are approximately 20 times more quota owning entities than processing entities.

4. When is the levy payable and who pays it?

The levy payer is the quota owning entity – that is why you are being asked to vote on this proposal.

There is no upfront payment by anyone.

The proposal is for the levy to be paid when the product is first sold to a processor.

The levy will be calculated based on the sale amount and withheld from your payment by the processor. All levy funds will be remitted from the processor to the Department of Agriculture (DA) every 3 months.

The entire process will be subject to audit by the Department of Agriculture. A report will be provided annually to all levy payers providing information about the collection of the levy. This report is also provided to parliament.

For more information about the levy collection process please download the Proposed Levy Governance document here.

5. If this levy is agreed to can it be changed?

Quota owners, as a collective, will always retain the ability to seek a new levy poll to alter the investment amount. This can be done by requesting that another national vote be conducted. This includes the ability to stop the investment completely at any stage during the next five years. Changes must be in line with ‘Levy Principle 12:
Amendments to existing levies’ which states:

“The proposed change must be supported by industry bodies or by levy payers or by the Government in the public interest. The initiator of the change must establish the case for change.”

In any event, after five years, ACA will conduct a ballot to decide whether to continue the ballot or not.

Do you need more information or have some questions about the levy?

Go to www.abalonepal.com and have a look at all the information that is there to help you decide how to vote.

We will be adding more information to the website and providing regular updates by email over the next five weeks.

If you have any questions, please send an email to admin@abalonecouncil.com.au
We undertake to provide a response to you within 2 working days.

Voting information

You should have already received an email providing information about how to vote.
Note: If you own Victorian quota you will not have the option of online voting. This is because of state privacy legislation preventing the release of email addresses to CorpVote, the organisation that has been appointed to conduct the secret ballot. Click here to find out more about CorpVote

All eligible voters (including those who own Victorian quota) will receive a voter pack in the mail with all the information you need to cast your vote. You can vote either online or by postal ballot.

You are entitled to vote if you owned quota on the 30th of August 2019. Each quota owning entity is entitled to vote so you may receive more than one voter pack.

If you don’t receive a voter pack by the 18th of November, and you believe you are entitled to vote, then contact CorpVote on 03 9586 6066 or admin@abalonecouncil.com.au

This is your chance to have your say on the future profitability of the Australian wild-caught abalone industry. Make your vote count.

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