• By Peter Sommerville
  • 12th September 2019
  • Category: News

Media Release

The  Federation  of  Australian  Wool  Organisations  (FAWO)  is  a peak wool  industry  body whose  Membership comprises  AWEX, AWH,  AWI,  AWTA,  and national Associations representing wool growers, brokers, exporters and processors.  It represents Australia at the International  Wool  Textile Organisation  (IWTO) and addresses wool  industry issues  of cross sector   importance   both  locally   and  internationally.      These   include   issues   such   as biosecurity matters.

FAWO achieved two major milestones at its Annual General Meeting last week.

Firstly, it passed a number of changes to its Constitution that are designed to encourage wider  participation  in  its  activities.   These  start  with  a change in name to Wool  Industries Australia (WIA) and include other changes of a structural nature.

Secondly, it  celebrated  these changes  with  the organisation  of  a Forum  in  which its Member  organisations  were asked to speak  about the impact  of  the drought  on their sector of the industry.   Over 70 people from  growers to retail; and from  the service sectors participated.  Discussion was wide ranging and free flowing.

The commercial issues of having 12.1% less wool produced in 2018/19 and a further 5% less expected in 2019/20 are very apparent, as is the need for wool growers to purchase grain and hay to feed their sheep.

But, less apparent are the impacts of social and welfare issues on-farm and in rural towns, where there are less funds available for spending and for employment.  Brokers referred to the personal  impacts  on their  staff  arising  from  their  direct  interaction  with  wool  growers who are living  with  the drought.  They also  referred  to the loss  of  expertise  from   the industry.

Also  less  apparent are the greater difficulties  that wool  exporters may have  in  meeting customers’ contract specifications,  particularly  for  wool  types  that were  not in  large supply, even before the drought. This is given greater emphasis by the increasing demand from   Australia’s  customers  for  wools   that meet traceability,  sustainability  and animal welfare requirements.

The importance of responding to this type of challenge was highlighted in a presentation to the  Forum  by   Country  Road CEO,   Scott  Fyfe.     Country Road’s  vision  includes  a “Responsible Wool Strategy”, which states:

All Country Road’s pure wool and wool rich products will be fully traceable and certified by a credible thirdparty to ensure high animal welfare standards and sustainable farming practices by Winter 2025.

Leading  Italian  processor,  Giovanni Schneider  described  these  issues  as  becoming  more important than wool quality issues when speaking at the recent IWTO Congress in Venice.

The full presentations can be found at  https://www.fawo.org.au/publications/

David Michell Bianca Heaney
Chairman Secretary
08 8209 4400 03 9311 0103




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