COVID-19: Representing the Australian wool industry

WoolProducers Australia is working with wool industry stakeholders, State Farm Organisations, and State and Federal Governments to develop guidance and advice on COVID-19 for industry. We are advocating to governments on behalf of industry to ensure a continued supply of wool to our export customers, and maintenance of services for woolgrowers so that farm businesses can continue to operate.

This page contains a list of resources and useful information that all businesses throughout the domestic wool supply chain can use to continue operating safely and to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

For public health information, please visit the Australian Government Department of Health.

Shearing operations: protocols in response to COVID-19

Developed in collaboration with AWEX, The Shearing Contractors’ Association of Australia, WA Shearing Industry Association, and Sheep Producers Australia, these protocols should be implemented to reduce the risk of COVID transmission in wool sheds. Download the protocols by clicking here.

Contracting operations: protocols in response to COVID-19

Developed in collaboration with the Livestock Contractors’ Association, these protocols should be implemented to reduce the risk of COVID transmission between persons undertaking dipping, scanning, footrot and lamb marking operations. Download the protocols by clicking here.

Australian workplace laws

The Fair Work Ombudsman has provided information on rights and responsibilities during COVID-19 for employees, employers and the community. This includes information on the JobKeeper scheme in Australian workplaces. For more information, click here.

Essential services

State and territory governments have the authority to declare a service as ‘essential’. Some jurisdictional governments have identified agriculture and its supply chains as essential while others have only defined non-essential services.

WoolProducers Australia, in collaboration with other organisations representing the entire domestic wool supply chain, have written to State Premiers and Agricultural Ministers and provided a briefing paper on the wool industry being prescribed as an essential service. You can read the briefing paper here.

27 March, 2020

  • The Minister for Agriculture and Emergency Management, David Littleproud confirmed on 27 March, 2020 that livestock saleyards and wool auctions are able to continue, announcing they are an essential part of the broader agricultural supply chain. Read more here.
  • The Commonwealth recognised agriculture as an essential service on 25 March.
  • Queensland has determined that the transport of food is a ‘critical’ service and is exempt from border restrictions.
  • New South Wales has deemed primary industry production and related businesses and the entire food chain as essential industry.
  • Victoria has listed farms and agribusiness as not included in the current bans agreed by National Cabinet on 24 March.
  • South Australia has determined food and food production as essential services. Primary produce is exempt from SA border controls.
  • Western Australia has recognised food deliveries as ‘unrestricted’ under the WA Emergency Management Act on 20 March. ‘Essential goods’ are exempt from border controls.
  • Northern Territory has listed food markets, grocery stores, retail and shopping centres as necessary to continue normal business, but has not specifically listed agriculture as an essential service.

Border control information

25 May, 2020

Border controls vary between Australian states and territories. It is important that you are aware of border controls if you are travelling and ensure that you comply with any movement requirements. WoolProducers is no longer providing border control information as states and territories ease movement restrictions. We strongly recommend you visit the relevant state/territory authority website for the most up-to-date information.

Wool Selling Frequently Asked Questions

This document answers several frequently asked questions to address concerns around COVID-19 in wool market operations. You can access the document here.

Assistance and support

The National Farmers’ Federation has collated available assistance and support measures in response to COVID-19. Click here to find out more.

COVID-19 impacting wool growers

Key findings from WoolProducers' survey of woolgrowers to understand the effects of COVID-19 during the early stage of the pandemic response included that the vast majority of woolgrowers believe that COVID-19 has impacted their businesses both in financial and non-financial ways, including significant reductions in income, difficulties accessing farm inputs and labour, and declines in the wool price seeing many woolgrowers withhold or withdraw their wool from sale at auction, leading to reduced cashflows.

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Assessment of impacts of COVID-19 on wool growing enterprises

WoolProducers Australia conducted a survey of Australian woolgrowers to understand the effects COVID-19 may have had on their farm businesses during the early stages of government imposed restrictions. The survey found that the majority of respondents believed their wool growing enterprise had been impacted both financially and non-financially with the effects of the pandemic potentially affecting the viability of their businesses in the short, medium, and long term. Impacts included significant reductions in income, difficulties accessing farm inputs and labour, and declines in the wool price seeing most woolgrowers withhold or withdraw their wool from sale at auction, leading to reduced cashflows. From these findings, WoolProducers has developed several assistance and recovery recommendations for consideration by the Australian Government.

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