WoolProducers Australia (WPA) is the peak national body for the wool producing industry in Australia, representing farmers whose primary business is growing wool.

WPA is the national voice on behalf of producers, advocating their interests to both the Federal Government and internationally and providing a strong, unified voice that enables woolgrowers to determine policy and drive change in their industry.

WPA is led by a National Executive made up of woolgrowers from around Australia. Each state farmer organisation member is represented on the Executive, while another three members are directly elected by growers Australia-wide. Democratically elected independent members provide anyone involved with wool growing in Australia the opportunity to be a part of the leadership team. This sets WPA apart from other grower groups and gives it the mantle of the true democratic voice of the Australian wool industry.

This structure is also unique amongst other similar livestock representative bodies in Australia, to which membership is often only available through state farmer organisations. WPA is the only national organisation that can speak on behalf of the mainstream wool industry and represent the concerns and hopes of wool growers.

WPA plays a key role in working with the companies that are funded by grower funds – whether they are compulsory levies or fees for service – to develop constructive and profitable outcomes for industry. WPA carries the responsibility of appointing a director to the Australian Wool Exchange and the Australia Wool Testing Authority, promoting good corporate governance and ensuring that the interests of growers are paramount.

WPA maintains a working relationship with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) as the voice on behalf of their shareholders. WPA aims to contribute to AWI’s programs for the benefit of growers, promoting responsible use of levy funds and ensuring good corporate governance.

WPA 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. WPA also provides advice to AHA on behalf of the wool industry on a day to day basis through its representation on national animal health and welfare committees.

WPA also works closely with the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on key issues such as animal health, emergency animal disease outbreak preparedness and industry development.

As the only woolgrower organisation with membership of the National Farmers’ Federation, WPA is responsible for providing key policy advice on behalf of our members to Australia’s peak farm body.  The policy contribution to the National Farmers Federation includes environmental laws and regulations, climate change, water, industrial relations, taxation, international trade issues, economics and training.

WoolProducers Australia endeavours to always work in the best interests of Australian wool growers and the Australian wool industry.

WoolProducers Australia is supportive and a promoter of innovative technology and programs that increases woolgrowers’ productivity and profitability,

WoolProducers Australia is a promoter of continued good environmental practice. Woolgrowers are preeminent custodians of their land and wool continues to be the world’s most environmentally sustainable fibre.

WoolProducers Australia liaises with numerous internal and external industry partners. There is a need for two-way, transparent communication with all bodies.

Australian Wool Innovation

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Ensuring that a review is held regarding the future of WoolPoll, including, but not limited to:
    • Possible alternative means for setting the levy;
    • Opportunities for greater determination in the funding split for levy payers; and,
    • Role and relevance of ‘supplementary’ questions.
  • Supporting investigation of the WoolPoll process including frequency, transparency and governance
  • Ensuring sufficient reporting and consultation mechanisms with AWI, including the establishment of WPA as the prescribed industry body
  • Supporting the R&D levy for wool to be collected from all wool regardless of harvesting method.
  • Ensuring that the AWI Statutory Funding Agreement and Constitution guarantees the appropriate use of grower funds and minimises subjective interpretation of general clauses by the board.
  • Providing advice to the Department regarding the AWI SFA around the creation of an MoU in reference to health and welfare levies
  • Ensuring that the structure and governance model of AWI to be in accordance with best practice governance.
  • Pursuing capped terms for directors be introduced into AWI.
  • Ensuring that the investment into research and development is based on program areas, opportunities and market failure, and the potential return to growers, as opposed to a deliberate allocation of investment between on-farm and off-farm research.
  • Reinforcing the view that AWI should operate as a market failure focussed Company, as opposed to a commercially focussed Company.
  • Ensuring that AWI determines the IP and investment arrangements for each individual project.
  • Ensure that AWI maintain effective communication and consultation with industry

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Maintaining a robust working relationship with the Department across all issues affecting the Australian wool industry

Animal Health Australia

Oversight of Animal Health and Welfare Levy

WoolProducers Australia is charged with oversighting the expenditure of the compulsory animal health and welfare levy on behalf of Australian wool growers.

To demonstrated this commitment WoolProducers Australia has agreed to establish the WPA Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee. The membership of this Advisory Committee includes:

  • The WoolProducers Executive
  • Australian Wool Growers Association
  • Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders
  • Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association
  • The Livestock Contractors Association
  • Australian Veterinarian Association – Sheep Vets Special Interest Group (Technical Advisor)

The WPA Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee provides recommendation on the expenditure of the wool portion of the animal health and welfare levy administered by AHA to the WPA Executive.

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Agreeing to the principle of funding AHA programs deemed relevant by the Executive on a GVP basis, unless circumstances specific to that program dictate otherwise.
  • Ensuring that AHA operates the industry level reserve equivalent to 90-120% of 12 months of expenditure with expenditure calculated on a 5-year average
  • Increasing the maximum reserves policy for the Sheep Industry Health and Welfare Trust Fund to 25% of $14M (maximum of $17.5M)
  • Maintaining the Wool Industry Reserves Deed to secure wool industry levies to be spent on wool industry activities only
    • WPA agree to the following purpose of the deed:
      • Any activity associated with biosecurity, animal health, welfare and emergency response to pest or disease in sheep in Australia.’

 

  • With the secondary purpose to be:
      • any activity associated with the eradication, prevention or control of any pest or disease in sheep and/or other to Australia, whether endemic or not;
      • any activity associated with the eradication, prevention or control of any other factor affecting the health of sheep and/or other in Australia;
      • any activity associated with the conduct of research into any pest or disease in sheep or other factors which may affect the health of sheep and/or other in Australia;
      • any activity associated with conduct of research into pests or diseases which may or may not occur in sheep, but which may affect the Australian wool industry; or
      • any other activity associated with sheep and/or other health, welfare or related to the above activities which, in the opinion of AHA, is likely to benefit or enhance the Australian wool industry.
  • WoolProducers determines that the following amounts be committed to the Wool Industry Reserves Deed:
    • Threshold amount – $2.5 million
    • Contribution amount – minimum $100,000 pa
    • Maximum amount – $6 million

Federation of Australian Wool Organisations

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Opposing the proposal for FAWO to collect a levy to fund industry good activities.

Sheepmeat Council of Australia

WoolProducers Australia supports:

  • Investigation of an effective representation model for Australian wool growers
  • Continuation of investigating of a merge with SCA and to reconvene the Working Group to consider and develop potential governance, business and consultation models
  • Combined efforts with SCA where practical on behalf of the national wool and sheep industries

SheepCRC

WoolProducers to direct wool industry health and welfare levies for the Wellness Program of SheepCRC 2

Supply Chain

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Encouraging the commercial evolution of an environment for trading greasy wool that is consistent with:
    • Centralising the information required to affect any relevant change of ownership;
    • Presenting the product to the widest possible range of domestic and international interests; and,
    • Facilitating speedy delivery and minimising supply chain costs to all parties.

NATIONAL FARMERS FEDERATION

  • From 1 July 2012 WPA will be an Associate member of NFF

Emergency Animal Diseases

WoolProducers Australia, as the signatory to the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) on behalf of the Australian Wool Industry, is committed to fulfil the legal obligations associated with this significant role, including preparation and response commitments.

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Funding positions to attend the real-time training for wool industry representatives
  • Agreeing in principle support to plan and execute a standstill training exercise for wool industry participants

Ovine Johne’s Disease

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Ensuring that producers are responsible for funding any activity that enhances their own commercial situation, and does not support socialised funding be used for these activities, including:
    • property disease management plans
    • regional biosecurity plans
    • SheepMAP
  • Supporting ongoing surveillance for OJD, to ensure detection of the disease with the use of the vaccination as a critical component in the ongoing management of OJD.
  • Supporting the mandatory use of a national Sheep Health Declaration to be used as the basis for providing a statement of risk for prospective purchasers.
  • Supporting the ongoing research into:
    • New tests; particularly about the presence of the bacteria of the disease (as opposed to the expression of clinic disease) including research about environmental factors that influence disease expression;
    • An OJD vaccine that is cheaper; and,
    • An OJD vaccine that is safer for humans to use, with less welfare issues.
  • Insisting that any public comment on a possible link between Crohn’s and Johne’s disease should only be made by members of the Crohn’s Response Team spokespeople.
  • Supporting the funding of state representatives to attend the OJDMP Committee Meeting from the NOJDMP budget.

Surveillance

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Utilising industry levies for abattoir surveillance being used to detect other diseases and supports that this is done across all states and to the distribution of collected data in the most cost-effective way.  
  • In conjunction with the Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Animal Health Australia identifies an efficient and effective process for the collection of surveillance data.
  • Engaging with the meat processing sector to ensure the ongoing access to abattoirs for the purpose of collecting surveillance data.
  • Providing in principle support for participating and funding surveillance activities under the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP); Transmissible Spongiform Encephalitis Freedom Assurance Program (TSEFAP) and Screw-worm Fly Freedom Assurance Program
  • Supporting an independent chair for the Sheep Health Project

Footrot

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Ensuring that Australian Wool Innovation prioritises R&D to be directed to into the diagnostics of different strains of footrot
  • Pursing a national footrot definition
  • Supporting the progression of footrot vaccine being developed

National Livestock Identification System

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • The application of pink transaction tags for the purposes of NLIS (Sheep and Goats) where ownership of the animals in question does not change is not mandated.
  • Supporting the mob- based sheep NLIS scheme and the voluntary use of RFID technology
  • Strongly opposing mandatory RFID
  •  Strongly lobbying governments not to proceed with mandatory implementation of RFID on the sheep and goat industries.
  • Supporting approved sheep RFID tags being recognised as an NLIS sheep compliant tag.
  • Not supporting any exemptions in the NLIS scheme for sheep and farmed goats, in particular, as relates to sales direct to slaughter on an over the hooks basis.
  • The use of NLIS year of birth colour tags remaining voluntary.

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Promoting the National Grazing Industries Biosecurity pamphlet

LPA

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting the mandatory use of NVDs for all transactions of sheep.
  • Pursuing full voting rights at LPA in recognition of the wool industry’s contribution and relevance to the LPA program

Vertebrate Pests

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting the activities of the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group.
  • Strongly lobbying against the import of all exotic hybrid pets from the feline and canine family into Australia.
  • Supporting a nationally coordinated approach for the control of wild/feral dogs and pigs.
  • Funding the AHA position to attend the Wild Dog Stakeholder Consultative Group, but requests the budget to be reviewed particularly in light of travel costs if meetings are held in Canberra. WPA also requests written reports from each meeting.

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting the development of a sheep husbandry best practice guide.
  • To formulating a strategy and program for a collaborative approach to put the wool industry on the front foot in regards to health and welfare.
  • Seeking:
    • To reassure the market of Australian animal welfare standards by:
      • Endorsing voluntary self-regulatory animal welfare programs to progress best practice management;
      • Supporting minimum standards of animal management necessary to maintain basic animal health needs.
  • To achieve sustainable animal welfare improvements by:
    • Pursuing objective and unbiased scientific measurement of minimum standards as is the case with animal disease;
    • Pursuing interpretation of objective and scientific measurement at the herd or flock level rather than at the individual animal level.
  • To achieve animal welfare decision making mechanisms that reflects the credibility of the participants by:
    • Excluding from the decision-making table animal rights groups who have forfeited any right to make decisions on behalf of livestock industries because they do not believe in the existence of livestock industries.
    • Supporting wide consultation bounded by clear frameworks and tight timelines.
  • Ensure the Department of Agriculture, Animal Health Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and other livestock R&D organisations coordinate their animal welfare research efforts.
  • Supporting the animal welfare module being a voluntary part of LPA 2
  • Being strongly opposed to the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare
  • Promoting the use of pain relief in communications
  • Endorses the IWTO International Wool Specifications

Review of Model Codes of Practice

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting the Sheep Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines

Mulesing

WoolProducers Australia has been heavily involved in the debate surrounding the phase out of mulesing. This is an evolving issue and WoolProducers’ policy must provide the flexibility to move with external forces outside of industry’s control, while maintaining integrity and leadership on this issue.  In order to achieve this there are a number of key principles that WoolProducers Australia must adhere to.

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Advocating that pain relief must be applied when mulesing to ensure that the procedure can be done in accordance with the highest standard of animal welfare
  • Supporting the phase out of surgical mulesing only when there is a universally accepted alternative.
  • Supporting continued investment in finding an alternative to surgical mulesing by AWI and public and private researchers.
  • Strongly opposing government regulation to ban the practice.
  • Strongly opposing the setting of another deadline for the phase out of mulesing.
  • Supporting the inclusion of mulesing in the Standards and Guidelines to ensure that it is done in accordance with best practice and not as a vehicle to ban mulesing.
  • The industry presenting consistent, positive and proactive messages to the general public and customers on the issue of mulesing.
  • Acknowledging industry initiatives and progress in addressing the mulesing issue.
  • Ensuring that it is well understood that the use of tail docking irons and ‘hot knives’ constitutes a separate and distinct process to mulesing and is not covered by the mulesing definition.
  • Promoting the mulesing procedure is only to be conducted with mulesing shears.

Miscellaneous

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting the registration of Tri-Solfen for use on shearing cuts,

Residues

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Seeking the wider adoption of the concept of verifying wool (chemical) residues.
  • Supporting the continuing availability of chemicals for viable wool production, in particular:
    • 1080 for vertebrate animal control; and
    • Request chemical manufacturers and AWI to provide the necessary research data to the APVMA to support their continued registration.

Other

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Seeking the co-operation of relevant industry bodies for the development of the concept of a central database for the collation of wool test results with a view to create a central wool inventory.
  • Supporting the use of one standardised wool specification sheet.
  • Supporting the Australian wool industry being a signatory to the IWTO Sustainable Practices Working Group
  • Not supporting the expenditure of significant grower levies to be spent on establishing a Wool Exchange Portal unless there is a guaranteed commitment from all early supply-chain participants to utilise this portal
  • Advocating that the levy expenditure around the WEP is sourced from the marketing budgeting and not the research and development budget
  • Strongly encouraging growers to use the National Wool Declaration, regardless of mulesing status.
  • Strongly encouraging buyers to request wool declared with the National Wool Declaration, if they have an interest in the mulesing status of Australian wool.
  • Seeking that the NWD become a condition of sale supported by an education program

Shearer Shedhand Training

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting a nationwide system for ensuring standards across the AWI Shearer and Shedhand Training Program.
  • Strongly promoting to producers, contractors, shed staff and training providers, accredited shearer and shedhand training in an effort to improve the quality of wool handling and clip preparation in the Australian wool clip.

Mulesing Training

WoolProducers Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting the development of a nationally recognised mulesing accreditation course, based on recognised prior learning.
  • Ensuring that mulesing training should be voluntary only.
  • Providing in-principle support to LCA and WPA pursing project funding through AHA

WoolProducers Australia sets expectations for AWI Board

WoolProducers Australia (WPA) today congratulated the successful candidates of the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) director elections and in doing so challenges the Board to improve their operations.

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2017 – a year of positives for WoolProducers Australia and two new directors

WoolProducers Australia (WPA) reflected on a positive year for both the organisation and their membership at the company’s AGM today in Canberra.

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