10 Nov 2008

Distribution of wind-up funds on hold

1:04 pm on 10 November 2008

Distribution of remaining funds from the former Wool Board is on hold until the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing is known.

The Wool Board Disestablishment Company had intended to distribute about $7 million of reserve funds to wool growers earlier this year, after a compensation claim brought by a group of specialist wool growers, failed in the Court of Appeal.

DISCO's manager Roger Buchanan says that did not happen because of further further legal moves by the Saxmere wool growers group, which has now succeeded in getting leave from the Supreme Court to take a case to it.

The group contends that the presiding judge who heard the case in the Court of Appeal, Bill Wilson, may have been biased because he co-owns a stud farm with one of the lawyers representing the Wool Board, Alan Galbraith QC.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear its arguments on this issue.

Mr Buchanan says the hearing may not take place until early New Year, so there can be no final distribution of the reserve money until the outcome is known.

About 13,000 eligible farmers are on the distribution list, including about 700 merino growers.

A previous estimate indicated that merino growers will receive an average of about $750 each and the others an average of $530.

But Mr Buchanan says the final payout may be slightly higher because the reserve fund has grown through investments.