Wool Trade

Australian wool auction rooms are reorganised to survive COVID-19

Terry Sim, March 23, 2020

AUSTRALIA’S wool auction rooms are being re-organised to minimise their coronavirus risk and online selling options are also being considered.

The industry’s plans could change daily as the spread of COVID-19 prompts additional business and community measures, but the Australian Wool Exchange’s National Auction Selling Committee is making plans to continue wool sales in the current centres.

NASC has also advised it contacted online service providers AuctionsPlus and WoolQ last week.

In his latest update, NASC secretary David Cother today the committee’s working group has been considering sale room risk mitigation — including locations, essential personnel restrictions, personal hygiene and social distancing measures – and contingency options, where a sale room or centre is subject to self-isolation conditions.

In order to increase sale room areas to allow sufficient social distancing between buyers, these measures have included relocation of the southern region sale rooms to the show floor and dining room, and asking AWH to consider moving the Melbourne sale room in the dining room to the show floor for Week 40 sale. Last week was Week 38 in the current sale series.

NASC also advised that the Fremantle sale room is to be moved onto the show floor for Week 39 and it is recommended that the Yennora sale rooms be relocated to the show floor for Week 40, consistent with southern and western regions.

Sale rooms have also instituted buyer/broker limits to conform with social distancing requirements, including 22 people in Yennora (north) and 30 people in the southern region (Melbourne) dining room.

NASC has asked that only essential personnel attend sale rooms and that these limits not be exceeded.

A proposal has also been submitted to NASC to consider rostering all centres for Tuesday/Wednesday selling for contingency reasons and to consider cancelling the Easter recess and scheduling sales in Week 42.

NASC has also had interest from buyers in interface sales and has advised it has contacted online service providers AuctionsPlus and WoolQ. The committee also noted that Western Australian border controls implemented over the weekend have implications for appraisal contingency measures.

In an attachment of Frequently Asked Questions, the NASC has said that Fortnightly selling, one day on/one day off two‐day sales (e.g. Tuesday/Thursday) and other options have been discussed and are under consideration.



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