AWB Limited has announced measures to protect pool entitlements of wheat growers from legal costs arising from the Cole Inquiry and any tax which might be assessed against AWB International in connection with inland transportation fees paid for pool wheat sold to Iraq.
AWB Limited Chairman, Mr Brendan Stewart, said the AWB Limited and AWB International Boards had been actively working on this issue for a number of months and the initiatives were taken to reassure growers about to deliver wheat to the 2006-2007 pool.
“This move means growers can deliver to the National Pool confident that their entitlements will not be reduced by the amount of these legal costs or income tax liability,” Mr Stewart said.
The AWB Limited Board has considered all its Constitutional and legal obligations and decided to adopt the following measures to provide absolute confidence to growers:
- AWB Limited will pay legal costs of AWB International arising from the Cole Inquiry;
- AWB Limited will pay costs of contesting any ATO assessment and any outstanding tax which may be liable in connection with inland transportation fees for wheat sold to Iraq.
In addition, AWB Limited Directors support a proposal that AWB International operate future pools as separate trusts for each season to better ensure that growers who deliver wheat to a season’s pool are not at risk of competing for payments with creditors of another season’s pool.
These measures are to protect growers and the business of the AWB Group. They are not an admission by AWB Limited that any of these costs or taxes are payable by the AWB Group. AWB Limited expressly reserves its rights to seek compensation for legal costs and to contest any potential tax assessments.
Mr Stewart also said that purported class actions were ill-conceived and that if any actions were formally moved against the company, they would be vigorously defended.
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