Australian wool industry hunting for processing closer to home
The search for a way to build more resilience in the Australian wool supply chain continues with options for early processing at home and in the near region being considered.
Wool Producers Australia CEO Jo Hall told Flow on Thursday a recent report they had commissioned, 'Domestic and Diversified Processing' by Deloitte, had highlighted the opportunities for Australian wool:
"We produce the largest volume of apparel wool in the world and we currently export about 95 per cent of our overall clip in a greasy or raw form, meaning we're only processing 5 per cent at home. We found there is a potential to onshore some of the processing.
"We get asked if we have high labour costs here, but the report found some of the costs we would incur in Australia would be offset by reduced freight costs."
Ms Hall said the industry was looking to 'hone in' on where the processing opportunities might be viable:
"We looked at diversifying our markets for greasy wool. We have focused on the early stage processing because that's where the global industry chokepoint exists. We found there are a number of countries that could be explored further, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam."
Hear more from Jo Hall on the Flow podcast player below:
In November 2021 the former federal government provided $662,000 for WoolProducers Australia to explore new markets and processing options, a decision welcomed last December by Australian processor Michell Wool.
The Agriculture Minister at the time, David Littleproud, said:
"If there’s one thing the global pandemic has taught us, it’s that market diversification is important for healthy industries.
"By looking for alternative markets for our wool, we can make sure we aren’t falling into the trap of putting all our eggs in the one basket."