25/03/2003 - 21:00

Farmers tackle AWB elections

25/03/2003 - 21:00


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Farmers tackle AWB elections

THE farm lobby is not considered to be at the vanguard of corporate governance reform, but that has not stopped the WA Farmers Federation taking on wheat marketing company AWB.

WAFarmers grains section president Peter Wahlsten said the farm group had successfully lobbied for changes to the process for electing AWB directors.

“Following the 2002 director elections, WAFarmers placed the spotlight on Computershare, the company employed by AWB to oversee the elections,” he said.

Mr Wahlsten said Computershare’s process was “highly inadequate, grower unfriendly and required rectifying”.

A number of changes have been made to the voting process, including an improved layout for voting forms to encourage growers to make their own vote rather than using a proxy.

Candidates can have a scrutineer and Computershare will explain to candidates and any scrutineers the computer system and safeguards they use.

Mr Wahlsten said one matter requiring further investigation was the role of the nominations committee commissioned by AWB to make recommendations for director candidates.

“There is no legal obligation for the board to recommend a candidate but the board does have a responsibility to identify suitably qualified candidates,” he said.

At AWB’s annual general meeting earlier this month, two existing directors were voted off the board and replaced with two others not recommended by the board.


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