This week, peak woolgrower representative body WoolProducers Australia are releasing the final reports of the Commonwealth funded project Ensuring a sustainable future for Australia’s wool supply chain – Phase 2.
In 2021 WoolProducers successfully applied for an Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) program, to secure funding to undertake Phase 1 of Ensuring a sustainable future for Australia’s wool supply chain through trade risk mitigation.
The Phase 1 report identified that diversification of trade of 50% of Australia’s wool production could deliver up to $1.1 billion in trade risk mitigation, along with a number of other significant opportunities such as jobs, freight efficiencies, positive contribution to GDP and alignment with numerous government policy objectives such as biosecurity, economic contribution and supply chain prominence.
In 2022 WoolProducers again successfully applied for an ATMAC grant to complete Phase 2 of this work to understand the options available and actions required to diversify and complement existing trade patterns of early-stage wool processing of Australian wool.
WoolProducers General Manager, Adam Dawes, said “the Phase 2 work took place in two distinctive, yet interdependent streams.”
“The first stream being the development of a business case for expanding early-stage processing in Australia, with the most likely scenario being increased pre-export scouring. This would require supply chain adjustment with potential exports to diversified countries that have new top-making operation coupled with existing, planned or future spinning operations”.
“The second stream was the development of road maps for the expansion of early-stage wool processing in Vietnam, India and Bangladesh. Given each of these countries have well-established textile industries, individual roadmaps for each country were developed with findings catered to their specific textile industry needs and experience in relation to the use of Australian wool”, Mr Dawes said.
“These roadmaps have evidenced that there are clear opportunities to instigate, collaborate and cultivate early-stage wool processing in Vietnam, India and Bangladesh respectively” Mr Dawes said.
The wool textile supply chain is one of the most complex agri-product supply chains in the world with many interdependent steps in the supply chain. Consultations throughout the project found that downstream supply chain partners including spinners, knitters, weavers and garment manufacturers also have a desire to expand their supply chains to mitigate their procurement risks.
“Supply chain diversification and expansion is in everyone’s interest, but it’s no-one’s responsibility. With Australia production of 80% of the worlds apparel wool we need to continue investment in this space”, Mr Dawes said.
In order to deliver the full potential of this work, WoolProducers are requesting the Federal Government to establish a three-year Wool Trade Policy program to support the Australian wool industry’s endeavours to expand its wool trade and mitigate trade risk. Such a program would seek to commence implementation of the findings of the business case and roadmaps to deliver improvement in supply chain trade risk exposure.
Mr Dawes said, “To futureproof the Australian wool industry and the prosperity of the rural and regional communities that it supports, this work must be supported and sustained by trade policy activities in the near-term years to ensure that the opportunities identified materialise into tangible actions that deliver the identified de-risking outcomes”.
The work of the project was undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics, who were guided through the formation of an industry steering committee. Membership comprised of representatives from WoolProducers, Australian Wool innovation, Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors and the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia.
In addition to the steering committee contribution WoolProducers would like to acknowledge the financial contribution and support received from Australian Wool Innovation and its global network via The Woolmark Company
WoolProducers President, Steve Harrison said, “I would like to sincerely thank Minister Watt and the Federal Government for the ATMAC grant. The ATMAC program has allowed us to undertake this supply chain assessment work on behalf of all Australian wool growers to improve the future and sustainability of our industry”.
“The substantial contribution from many supply chain stakeholders throughout this project has clearly demonstrated what can be achieved when we all work together towards a common goal” Mr Harrison said.
The domestic business case report will be available on the WoolProducers website from close of business Monday 5th February, with the roadmaps available from Friday 9th February. All reports will be accessible via this hyperlink.
WoolProducers Australia contact:
Adam Dawes, GM
0455 442 776
Jo Hall, CEO
0488 554 811
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.