AWI’s Wool Exchange Portal implementation is ‘premature’

Terry Sim, March 7, 2016

WoolProducers Australia logo Mar 2016NATIONAL wool grower body WoolProducers Australia believes it is premature to rush to implement an online Wool Exchange Portal, as recommended by the recently completed Wool Selling Systems Review.

WoolProducers Australia chief executive officer Jo Hall said any Australian Wool Innovation plan to implement the WEP at this stage is premature as there has not been proper consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders.

“We are unclear on where or from which growers Australian Wool Innovation has the mandate from to pursue the development of the WEP.

“AWI has stated that there has been 18 months consultation on this issue and now is the time to ‘move’,” she said.

Ms Hall was referring to a Twitter exchange last week which began with AWI saying “agribusiness and woolgrowers” were meeting on March 2 to discuss how an online wool selling portal might work. WPA responded that the meeting sounded informative, but WPA “weren’t invited”. The AWI tweeter then responded: “This day is for large growers and specialists, not industry bodies. 18 months of consultation it’s now time to move.”

Ms Hall said WPA strongly refuted the AWI consultation statement, “as it is clearly misleading”.

“Consultation around the Wool Selling Systems Review commenced in December, 2014 with the release of the WSSR issues paper followed by an opportunity in mid-2015 to present submissions relating to the WSSR Panel Discussion Paper and attend a stakeholder workshop.

“This can only be considered as consultation on the review process which is certainly not consultation on investing significant grower dollars into an alternate selling system known as the WEP, that we currently know very little about.”

Ms Hall reiterated that WPA was not represented at the WEP workshop as the body was not invited by AWI.

“AWI has publicly stated on social media that this meeting was for large growers and ‘specialists’ and not industry bodies, which is disappointing as we are seeking further detail on what the WEP is and how it will operate.

“WPA has been supportive of further investigation of the WEP to determine if price efficiencies can be gained for growers,” she said.

“However given the lack of details currently available, we do have concerns that this process is being spoken about in terms of ‘implementation’ rather than investigation, particularly given the substantial grower funds that will be invested as outlined in the final WSSR Report.”

“WPA would like to see more detail of the WEP before this is committed to fully.”

AWI invited about 50 people, or their nominees, to the facilitated March 2 workshop to discuss the ownership, financing and function of the WEP, as proposed in the final report of the AWI Wool Selling Systems Review.

Prospective workshop participants were told AWI had funded the review “to find potential for new opportunities and efficiencies in a system that has not significantly changed since the digital age in which we now live.”

The workshop was held at the Cliftons Conference Centre in Sydney and AWI paid for return economy class flights for workshop participants from their closest airport to Sydney, plus accommodation in Sydney if flight schedules preclude same day travel.

The WSSR panel believes a steering committee of industry stakeholders, including AWI, AWTA, AWEX, wool exporters and brokers will be needed to further develop the WEP concept. However, brokers and exporters were not invited to the March 2 workshop and no details about the formation of the steering committee have been released publicly by AWI.

AWI has not responded to questions about the WEP workshop asked by Sheep Central last week.


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  1. Edward H Wymer., March 9, 2016


  2. Peter Small, March 8, 2016

    Well said WoolProducers Australia! It is well past the time for our industry leaders to question the excesses of AWI, their cavalier approach to our customers and their extravagant expenditure of growers hard-earned income. The lack of consultation with all the stakeholders, but particularly our customers, is breath taking.

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