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August 2020, Woolproducers President Report
July has seen another busy month for WoolProducers in the advocacy space.

We have continued to advocate our recommendations from our ‘Assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on wool growing enterprises’ report to key federal agencies and MPs, including to the Treasury, Austrade, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Minister Littleproud and the Shadow Agricultural Minister Fitzgibbon.
 
On other COVID-19 related issues, we have continued to participate in the National Auction Sales Committee (NASC) Working Group, which have been reconvened in light of the Stage 4 Lockdowns, announced in Victoria. At the time of writing we have just been notified that the Southern wool auctions cannot occur in Melbourne despite strict COVID WorkSafe Plans, hygiene, and social distancing protocols put in place. Alternate arrangements are being considered currently. However, as an industry that has not been deemed to be restricted under these measures all freight, logistics, testing, handling, and exports of wool are continuing in Victoria.
 
WoolProducers has also continued to advocate for access to New Zealand wool harvesting labour on an industry level, rather than an individual level, and have been working with relevant bodies to achieve this. We have also been busy trying to ensure that border restrictions are enabling passage of wool harvesting and lamb marking staff between state borders.
 
It would be remiss of me not to mention the wool market. There is no doubt it is now severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After the winter recess, the EMI fell 11% in the first week back, which adds to the approximate 40% fall in calendar year to date. Growers around the country will be considering their position and each grower will have a different perspective. If you are holding wool make sure you check with your broker and ensure you are clear about storage charges, insurance status, etc to minimise the risk to you wool and income. This is especially pertinent if you are storing wool in your brokers warehouse or on your farm.

There is some current NSW parliamentary activity around animal husbandry procedures with our sheep. WoolProducers have provided a submission into this process and provided evidence into the inquiry.
 
WoolProducers’ policy on this issue is for the mandatory application of analgesia/anaesthetic (AA) when mulesing - we want everyone to use it. We know most growers are using AA, but we need to send the right signals to our customers, further, all wool consignments need to be accompanied by a National Wool Declaration (NWD) for lotting and sale. Far better for us to have control of our own industry and provide assurance to our customers, rather than have others do it for us.
 
As there would be plenty of lamb marking going on at the moment, please ensure you are fully informed about the state of the market with respect to these issues and prove that you are doing the best thing for your business, animals and customers.
 
Following our submission into the Joint Standing on Trade and Investment Growth inquiry into ‘Diversifying Australia’s trade and investment profile’, WoolProducers CEO, Jo Hall and General Manager, Ash Cooper gave evidence into this inquiry outlining the key issues in our submission.

WoolProducers are also getting ready for our quarterly Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Meeting and Executive Meeting on 19 and 20 August.
 
Finally, I would like to acknowledge that our General Manager of two years, Ash Cooper, is leaving WoolProducers to take up an opportunity as an advisor at the Australian Parliament House. I would like to thank Ash for his contribution to the organisation and industry during his time at WoolProducers and wish him all the best for the future.
 
As always, WoolProducers will continue to work in the best interests of Australian woolgrowers on any issue that effects our production sector.
 
Keep safe and healthy.
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