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June 2020, Woolproducers President Report

This month has again been a busy month for WoolProducers. In a first for our organisation we held our quarterly Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee (AHWAC) and Executive Meetings via video conference.
 
Both the AHWAC and the Executive discussed a number of pertinent issues, including the proposed Livestock Wellbeing CRC, future of SheepMAP, National Sheep Industries Biosecurity Strategy, WoolPoll Review, 10 Year Strategic Plan as well as an excellent presentation from one of our current Youth Ambassadors, Sam Wan on mulesing status and market trends.
 
Executive summaries of these meetings can be found at our dedicated Executive Summary page on our website.
 
In other news, a Sheep Sustainability Framework is currently under development by Australia’s sheep meat and wool industry.
 
WoolProducers and Sheep Producers Australia has initiated the Framework to demonstrate sustainable practices, identify areas for improvement, and better communicate with customers and consumers. Demonstration of sustainable production of sheep meat and wool is critical in securing access to local and global markets. We want our customers to be confident that the food and fibre they purchase has been produced responsibly.
 
The draft Framework has four themes – animal care, profitable businesses, environment and climate and our people and community. These themes are then further refined into focus areas and underpinning priorities.
 
The Framework will assist industry to better understand its opportunities, challenges and impacts in key areas such as animal care, environmental impact, economic resilience, and people and community.
 
It will improve transparency, provide evidence to our stakeholders that Australian sheep meat and wool has been produced responsibly, and build their trust and confidence in the industry. It will also demonstrate that Australia has a commitment to improvement and a clear path towards more sustainable practices where needed. The Framework identifies focus areas and priorities and will include indicators to measure performance against these priorities.
 
The Framework will be used by industry to guide and track aggregate performance on-farms and some post-farm parameters to ensure that Australia can provide evidence that we are a global leader in sustainable sheep production.
 
The first round of targeted consultations has been conducted on the first draft, with input received assisting in sharpening the focus of the document. Further consultation, which will be open to all interested stakeholders will occur in the coming months. We would encourage all wool growers in participating in this consultation to assist in shaping this Framework.
 
WoolProducers have continued to meet with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) on a number of industry issues, some of which are outlined below.
 
WoolProducers coordinated a formal submission into the National Workforce Strategy consultation. The National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee has been convened to prepare a National Agricultural Workforce Strategy and are conducting consultations with industries to understand requirements to attract, retain and up-skill the workforce and also consider the need to access migrant skills to address future labour needs.

At the request of DAWE, WoolProducers were asked to invite relevant industry representatives to participate in an industry consultation with the National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee who are heading up the National Agricultural Workforce Strategy. WoolProducers invited representatives from Sheep Producers Australia, Shearing Contractors Association of Australia (SCAA), Western Australia Shearing Industry Association (WASIA), Livestock Contractors of Australia (LCA) and AWI to provide input into this process.

WoolProducers also provided a submission into the WoolPoll review. The submission focused on a number of key themes including extension of the WoolPoll period to five years, contingent on alignment with Meat and Livestock Australia’s strategic period and greater authority and independence of the WoolPoll Panel.

Whilst COVID-19 response activities are slowing down, WoolProducers continue to work on relevant issues as they arise and have met with Treasury to outline financial impacts being felt by Australian woolgrowers.

We are also currently working with the National Farmers Federation, SCAA and WASIA to sure up access to New Zealand shearers and shed hands for the Spring shearing peak. WoolProducers have continued to act as the conduit between industry and the Federal government on this issue and will also be writing to State Ag Ministers to ensure that there is a sufficient understanding of the need for this source of labour.

As always, WoolProducers will continue to work in the best interests of Australian wool growers on any issue that effects our production sector.
 
Keep safe and healthy.
 
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