ATMAC grants weaving way for domestic wool processing

Senator the Hon Murray Watt
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

A new report into wool processing has shown there is significant opportunity for the industry to grow in Australia.

Funded by the Australian Government’s Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) program, the national peak body WoolProducers Australia have released a report demonstrating the feasibility of expanding and diversifying domestic early-stage wool processing in Australia.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, said the report found the economic impact of expanded early-stage processing would increase GDP by $1.6 billion, and create nearly 600 full-time jobs.

“The project looked at the potential and benefits of completing early-stage wool processing within Australia and in diversified offshore markets,” Minister Watt said.

“Wool requires dedicated early-stage processing before it can enter more generic textile manufacturing processes.

“Currently, Australia only has capacity for 5 percent of our early-stage wool processing, with the remaining 95 percent of Australian wool production reliant on offshore early-stage processing, which is concentrated in a small number of export markets.

“By completing early-stage wool processing domestically we can increase regional jobs, strengthen industry resilience, boost market diversification, value add our exports of woollen products and mitigate trade risks.”

Chief Executive Officer of WoolProducers Australia, Jo Hall, said opportunities have been reviewed through economic assessment of domestic processing, trade risks and mitigation opportunities. As well as opportunities to develop or enhance processing capacity in diversified onshore and offshore locations.

“The report outlines potential benefits while considering existing barriers in re-establishing this sector, including energy and labour costs, water availability and innovation opportunities to address these barriers,” Ms Hall said.

“It assesses tariff and regulatory barriers, that may prevent domestic and diversified early-stage processing from integrating with downstream textile supply chain operations.

“Additionally, it explores opportunities to split early stage ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ processing between domestic and offshore locations.

“Report findings indicate that domestic and diversified early-stage processing of wool is feasible and should be explored further through the completion of a comprehensive business case.”

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will continue to work with WoolProducers and Australia’s wool industry to support the sector’s growth and development. This includes pursuing export market expansion and growth, as well as new avenues for trade through on-shore processing, to support industry’s $100 billion Ag2030 target.

The Australian wool industry generates an average $3.5 billion in wool exports each year and provides 200,000 jobs.

Read the full report here: Ensuring a sustainable Australian Wool Industry through market diversification and risk mitigation.

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