WoolProducers 2016-17 Achievements

WoolProducers Australia is the national Peak Industry Body (PIB) representing and promoting the needs of Australia’s wool growers.  Our membership covers the industry’s commercial, superfine and stud breeding sectors.

WoolProducers is nationally representative through our State Farming Organisation (SFO) members and three democratically elected Independent Directors.  Through the engagement of Independent Directors, WoolProducers is able to ascertain the needs of growers both within, and external to the SFO system.  This sets WoolProducers apart from other wool grower representative groups and gives it the mantle of the only true democratic and representative voice of the Australian wool industry.

WoolProducers is the only wool growing member of Animal Health Australia (AHA), and as such, carries a significant responsibility for decision making on behalf of the industry.  This role includes the oversight of the wool industry health and welfare levy collected and administered by AHA.

In 2014 WoolProducers established the WPA Health and Welfare Board Committee (now known as the WPA Health and Welfare Advisory Committee) and expanded the representation of this Committee by extending an invitation to other wool representative bodies, including Australian Wool Growers Association, Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders, Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association, to ensure that there was representation and input across the entire wool industry in the expenditure of this levy. The Australian Veterinarian Association – Sheep Special Interest Group also has observer status on this Committee to provide technical advice regarding this levy administered by AHA.

AHA is empowered under the Australian Animal Health Council (Livestock Industries) Funding Act 1996 and is an essential component of sheep health and welfare in Australia.

WoolProducers work also includes the provision of advice to AHA, State and Federal Governments on behalf of the wool industry on a day-to-day basis through representation on national animal health and welfare committees.

WoolProducers is the wool industry signatory of the Emergency Animal Diseases Response Agreement (EADRA), and as such plays a critical role in the preparedness activities working across industries and State and Federal Governments.

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 Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 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 and trade.




 (inc. how this was communicated/shared where relevant)

OPERATIONS Processes have continued to be implemented over the past year to ensure that WoolProducers has become a far more functional and effective organisation.


This has taken considerable time and resources and has been a focus of the CEOs time.


The organisation is far more stable and accountable than previously and therefore far more effective in representing member needs and advocating on their behalf.


Improved governance measures have been implemented to ensure a more effective Board.

FINANCES The 2016/17 financial year showed a small loss which is directly attributed to a fourfold increase in membership subscriptions to the NFF.



The 2016/17 audited financial statements are distributed by 23 October in accordance with the WPA Constitution.


This decision to increase membership fees to the NFF was made by the Board in recognition of the value of NFF.


WoolProducers were also able to invest in some long overdue capital for the organisation.


Financial stability of the organisation also allows for more effective representation and advocacy.


2016-19 WPA Strategic Plan A three year Strategic Plan was developed to set the direction of the organisation over the next three years


This document was developed seeking input from members to enable their priorities to be enacted on a day-to-day basis by WPA
Staff WoolProducers have had an internal staff restructure to better address the requirements of the organisation. The CEO continues to be supported by a Policy Manager and Policy Officer, with the removal of a ‘animal health and welfare’ focus.

The more general policy focus enables a more rounded staff skill set, whilst also meeting the requirements of the AHA Service Level Agreement

IWTO BIOSECURITY TRADE WORKING GROUP WPA is the grower representative on behalf of Australia for the IWTO Biosecurity Working Group


This Working Group is hoping that member countries, through the sharing of information of how other member counties deal with disease incursions, assists in trade continuity of wool.


WoolProducers have continued to work with other countries in sharing

IWTO SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES WORKING GROUP WPA is a representative on the IWTO Sustainable Practices Working Group The Sustainable Practices Working Group advises the IWTO Executive Committee, and is an international IWTO member forum for oversighting development of strategic and operational plans for the global wool industry in the area of wool’s environmental and ethical attributes.
IWTO GROWERS FORUM WPA continues to Chair and provide secretariat of the IWTO Growers Forum. This year the IWTO Congress in Harrogate, UK WPA chaired the Growers Forum that includes representatives from NZ, Uruguay, South Africa, UK and the US
INDUSTRY UNITY WPA continues to lead and facilitate unity within the industry and a concerted effort has been undertaken to strengthen working relationships with key stakeholders.


A coordinated and agreed single ‘wool voice’ allows a cohesive media response, avoiding the multiple, conflicting and divisive approach.  The wool industry is able to deal with ‘issues management’ more effectively behind closed doors and in public. Groups involved at a state level: SFOs, and at a national level:  Shearing Contractors Association Australia, Western Australia Shearing Industry Association, Animal Health Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Livestock Contractors Association, Australian Wool Growers Association, Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders, and Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association.  Promoted via social and traditional media, through membership


STAKEHOLDER RELATIONS Ongoing and meaningful relationships with key government stakeholders including Ministers, Senators and government agencies has further been cemented in 2016/17


WPA has increased its presence at Parliament House and with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to ensure that wool industry issues are being considered by federal representatives.
WOOL INDUSTRY STRUCTURAL REFORM Lobbying for an oversight mechanism for the expenditure of the wool levy




Calling for better governance standards of the industry Research and Development Corporation


Leading industry in reforming AWI’s Industry Consultative Committee

WPA has been vocal around the lack of industry consultation undertaken by AWI and have been lobbying to ensure that the work conducted by AWI reflects industry priorities – which can only be achieved through effective consultation with wool growers


WPA has long held concerns with the governance standards of AWI, with some of these concerns being exposed in 2017 Senate Estimates hearings


WPA has worked to make the ICC far more robust and a more consultative mechanism. Whilst there has been some improvement there is still much to be done to make this a meaningful forum for industry consultation


LEVIES REVIEW The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources engaged ACIL Allen Consulting and Minter Ellison Lawyers to explore opportunities to improve the existing levy system.


WPA provided input into the following areas:

  • Improvements to the WoolPoll mechanism
  • Greater consultation with industry by AWI
  • More transparency and accountability in levy expenditure by AWI
  • Improvement to the wool industry structure, including the appointment of an industry RO




Directorship of Australian Wool Exchange


Member of the Federation of Australian Wool Organisations



Participation in the Industry Consultative Committee

Representing grower interests


Representing grower interests


Representation of grower interest, including participation in the Joint China-Australian Wool Working Group, Chinese training and Nanjing Wool Market


WPA continues to represent the interests of the broader wool industry in AWI convened forums


NATIONAL WOOL DECLARATION Involvement in the 2016 and 2017 NWD reviews, while promoting the use by all Australian wool growers There is a need for increased voluntary adoption rate through a market driven mechanism rather than a regulatory approach as has been recently suggested by wool processors in the media.


Earlier this year WoolProducers, in recognition of the importance that we view the use of the NWD by the trade, amended policy regarding the NWD from ‘strongly encouraging the use’ to ‘supporting an education program leading to the mandated use of the NWD’.


WOOL EXCHANGE PORTAL WORKING GROUP WPA lobbied for AWI to conduct a fully costed business plan to be conducted into the Wool Exchange Portal (WEP) before significant levies were invested into its establishment A WEP Working Group has been established and the WPA Senior Vice President is part of this WG. The WEP-WG are charged with providing the AWI Board with a decision on further investment into the development of the WEP


DRUGS IN THE SHEARING INDUSTRY The Shearing Industry Reference Group was convened comprising of stakeholders from across the industry including: NFF, AWI, SCAA, WASIA and AWEX WPA has been vocal in raising the practical implications of such a move both through the media.


The highly successful Shearing Industry Safety Summit was held in May.


The Reference Group continues to work on finalising a collaborative policy, guidance documents and collateral for distribution on this issue


WOOLCLASSERS CODE OF PRACTICE REVIEW WPA provided a submission onto the review of the Woolclasser Code of Practice WPA identified a number of areas for consideration, including:

  • Shearing order
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Alignment with the Wool Book
  • Prematurely shorn fleece – unskirted fleece wool


WPA remains involved in this review through representation on the AWEX Industry Services Advisory Committee (ISAC)


OTHER Raising awareness on key industry issues through increased media presence Numerous media interviews across all mediums, particularly print and radio. Topics for these interviews have included:

·         AWI performance

·         industry structure including oversight

·         wool prices

·         drug and alcohol use

·         wool substitution

·         Graziers Investment Company




2016/17 Health and Welfare Achievements


 (inc. how this was communicated/shared where relevant)

EAD AGREEMENT Liaise with wool-related post-farm gate organisations to ensure they are clear on language and roles and responsibilities of EADRA


Link between on-farm and post-farm gate benefits supply chain as it results in an improved ability to prepare for an EAD. Communicated with post-farm gate organisations and representation
RESPONSE TOOLS Ongoing negotiations for the ‘Valuation and Compensation’ draft manual



Crisis Response Plan and join Response Plan with Sheep Meat industry developed

Fair valuation and compensation identified as a key priority by growers.  Communicated to all main wool representation groups (WPA, SFOs, AASMB, ASWGA, AWGA)


Merge the two-separate sheep meat and wool EAD response plans (EAD RPs) into one as it didn’t make sense to have two ‘roundtables’ (teleconferences) progressing the same issue in an EAD. The documents will provide a crisis response plan for a serious activist or market access issue and work in to the crisis response plans of partners who will be acting in the same space at the same time in a crisis.


TRAINING Four wool growers and livestock agents recruited to attend FMD real-time training in Nepal in May 2017 and November 2016.



Interested growers attend ‘Liaison – Livestock Industry’ training held in December 2015

FMD and EAD preparedness message networked at a grass roots level across all wool growing states.  Shared on social media, WPA newsletter, with SFOs, extended H&W membership, and in traditional media; attendees also undertake local community presentations


Industry able to provide trained Liaison personnel in the event of an EAD to support response and return to trade as soon as possible. Shared directly via mail out, on social media, WPA newsletter, with SFOs, extended H&W membership


OTHER Broadening the relationships across the supply chain with the goal of increasing awareness of EADs.  Eg Engaging agent and broker sectors to scope an online training platform that improves awareness of EADs


FAWO EAD Working Group participation

Supporting early detection and reporting of an EAD improves emergency preparedness across industry.  Communications with ALPA, Landmark, RuralCo, Primaries, NCWSBA, FAWO


LIVESTOCK WELFARE Support the NWDAP via the Stakeholder Consultative Group


Funding of the SheepCRC Wellness program



Joint wool industry Welfare Workshop to identify hot spots, risk mitigation strategies, and a consensus approach to communication in an issues management context. Precedent set for collaboration/cooperation on issues management between multiple wool grower representation groups.  Mechanism for issues response developed and ‘stress-tested’ in real time.


Mulesing accreditation training development




Assist in the development of NFF Animal Welfare Policy

Delivering on-ground outcomes through successful partnerships – increased awareness through all media mediums


Development and delivery of wellness parameters for use on farm enables growers to improve the health and welfare of their flock


A coordinated and agreed single ‘wool voice’ allows a cohesive media response, avoiding the multiple, conflicting and divisive approach.  The wool industry is able to deal with ‘issues management’ more effectively behind closed doors and in public. Groups involved: SCAA, WASIA, AHA, AWI, LCA, AWGA, AASMB, and ASWGA.  Promoted via social and traditional media, through membership




When delivered, training for mulesing practitioners will result in improved sheep welfare and also work to mitigate the reputational risk of mulesing poses to Australian wool growers


Supports a sustainable approach to welfare across all livestock sectors. Shared with extended membership

BIOSECURITY Participate in the Sheep Health Project and NSHMP reviews


Participate in Sheep Health Declaration review



Development of a more cost-effective biosecurity strategy to benefit sheep producers and wool growers


Ensure a beneficial return on investment to growers



Tools to enable growers to improve on-farm management of biosecurity, health and welfare and improve preparedness for an EAD.


The project will facilitate greater collaboration and coordination between jurisdictions, and highlight areas where synergies exist while identifying gaps in existing protocols. As a result, it is expected that efficiencies and more effective cross border collaboration will serve to manage the spread of endemic sheep diseases while improving the capacity of regulators to effectively control and eradicate emergency animal diseases should there be an incursion.


TRACEABILITY Contribution to the roll out of results from SheepCatcher II exercise



Test the capacity of the current mob-based NLIS arrangements of both industry and governments to use as a benchmark to enhance the current system. Extension and communication activities around the improvements needed to enhance the current mob-based system.


PARTNERSHIPS MANAGEMENT Cohesive engagement across all sectors of supply chain including AWGA, AASMB, ASWGA, LCA, AVA. SCAA, WASIA, FAWO, AWI and SCA in various fields including animal welfare, health and biosecurity




Working with other (non-wool) industry bodies to enhance other on-farm outcomes for growers including AgForce Qld, NSW Farmers Association, Victorian Farmers Federation, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Livestock SA, WA Farmers Federation, AHA, SCA, ALPA, ALMA, GICA, MLA, AWI, Sheep CRC, LBN, NWDAP ISC, AWU, wool brokers and state and Federal government representatives


A more cohesive voice for wool in the areas of health, welfare and biosecurity ensures priorities are ascertained, reduces the chance of duplication of projects, and develops synergies across the supply chain. Regular engagement with all groups mentioned; promotion of collaboration via social and traditional media, and in WPA newsletter


With the increased scrutiny of on-farm animal welfare leading to more ill-informed attacks on the wool industry, this collaborative approach has led to a coordinated and agreed single ‘wool voice’ allowing for a cohesive media response, avoiding a multiple, conflicting and divisive approach.  The wool industry is able to deal with ‘issues management’ more effectively behind closed doors and in public, which is a good outcome for industry and wool growers

Working with state and national bodies, both industry and government has seen favourable outcomes for wool growers in many on and off-farm areas. These issues have included NLIS, wild dog mitigation, animal wellness R&D, endemic disease/condition management – footrot, lice, ovine brucellosis, JD, emergency animal disease preparedness and biosecurity


OTHER Raising awareness on key health, welfare and biosecurity issues through increased media presence.


Newsletter distributed to wide audience

Numerous media interviews across all mediums, particularly print and radio. Topics for these interviews have included:

Animal welfare:

Animal welfare standards and guidelines

Mulesing – pain relief

Mulesing alternatives progress

Textile Exchange, Responsible Wool Standards

Defence of the shearing industry following animal rights campaigns for drug and animal abuse

NWD usage

Independent Office of Animal Welfare – support for status quo

Wild dog mitigation

Animal health and biosecurity:

NLIS, support for the current national mob-based system and SheepCatcher II roll out

Promotion of Sheep Health Statement / Declaration

FMD and EAD preparedness