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Federal Budget – another kick in the teeth for Australian woolgrowers

Updated: May 28

The Federal Government has continued to demonstrate how out of touch it is with Australia’s sheep and wool industry by not delivering on an essential trade policy program for Australia’s multi-billion wool industry, according to WoolProducers Australia.

 

WoolProducers had asked for a modest $2 million over three years to establish a Wool Trade Policy program to continue the trade expansion work that has been identified for the wool industry by WoolProducers in their Ensuring a sustainable Australian Wool Industry through market diversification and risk mitigation’ project.

 

WoolProducers CEO, Jo Hall said, “A mere couple of days after this government made the devastating and illogical announcement that they will be shutting down the legitimate and profitable live sheep export trade, which will have negative impacts on the wool industry, they have failed to invest in work that could assist producers who remain in the industry.”

 

“Despite all the talk the government have made in the face of the live sheep export ban that they would assist industry to transition to alternative markets for sheep products, they have failed to deliver on a program that would actually achieve tangible outcomes for woolgrowers.” Ms Hall said.

 

In recent years WoolProducers has been investigating market expansion and diversification as a means to mitigate such trade risks. This first phase of this work identified that diversification of trade of 50% of Australia’s wool production could deliver up to $1.1 billion in trade risk mitigation, add $1.8 billion to Australia’s GDP and create an additional 582 Australian jobs by 2050. A second phase of work delivered practical roadmaps for priority trading partner countries identified for wool market expansion, being India, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Ms Hall went on to say, “Just today (14/5) when questioned about the phase out of live exports in the Senate Minister Watt was quoted as saying “What we're about in the country, in this government, is actually about more value-adding and delivering more jobs in agriculture, in manufacturing and in every other industry”.

 

“Clearly talk is cheap and the Ministers comments seem disingenuous to put it politely. How can a government ignore a program proposal with potential to deliver up to $1.1 billion in trade risk mitigation, and an additional $1.8 billion in GDP and 582 jobs?”

 

The outcomes of this program would have been consistent with a number of existing Government programs including the Agri-Business Expansion Initiative and the Export Market Development Grants. Along with support objectives under trade agreements including the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES), Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 and the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA).

 

“This was an opportunity for the Government to show that there was some genuine interest in working with industry to try work on the blow that they have delivered to the national industry, the fact that they have failed to deliver on this casts further questions over their ability to keep a sustainable wool industry in Australia”, Ms Hall said.

 

Ms Hall concluded by saying, “It’s disappointing, but increasingly not unexpected, that the biggest single commitment of new money for agriculture in this budget is the $107 million committed over the next four years to kill off live sheep exports, and we don’t even know how much of that will actually make its way to farmers and already suffering regional communities”.


END

 

WoolProducers Australia contacts:

Jo Hall                                                                                                                                   Adam Dawes                                       

CEO                                                                                                                                       General Manager

0488 554 811                                                                                                                      0455 442 776


About WoolProducers’ Australia

WoolProducers plays a critical role in working closely with companies and entities funded by woolgrower funds including compulsory levies or fees for service.


Its mission is to develop constructive and profitable outcomes for woolgrowers nationally.


The agency is responsible for appointing a director to each of the Australian Wool Exchange and the Australia Wool Testing Authority, promoting good corporate governance and ensuring that the interests of growers are met.


WoolProducers maintains a working relationship with Australian Wool Innovation as the voice of woolgrower shareholders. It aims to contribute to AWI’s programs for the benefit of growers, promoting responsible use of levy funds and ensuring good corporate governance.


WoolProducers is the sole wool industry member of Animal Health Australia, and as such, carries a significant responsibility for decision making on behalf of the industry in the event of an emergency animal disease outbreak.


As the only wool grower organisation with membership of the National Farmers’ Federation, WoolProducers is responsible for providing key policy advice on behalf of our members, and other wool growers, to Australia’s peak farm body.


WoolProducers also works closely with the Federal Government Departments on key issues such as animal health and welfare, biosecurity, pest management control, natural resource management, drought preparedness, emergency animal disease outbreak preparedness and industry development, including research, trade and logistics.

 

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