Green light for online Wool Exchange Portal

Terry Sim, November 18, 2016

Australian Wool Innovation chair Wal Merriman has confirmed to this morning’s AWI annual general meeting in Sydney that plans to develop an online Wool Exchange Portal will proceed.

Earlier this year an industry review recommended the creation of an online portal as a path to reducing transaction costs and creating greater transparency in the wool exchange process.

The Wool Exchange Portal Working Group has been assessing the viability of that recommendation for the past four months and was due to give a yes or no decision to AWI at its AGM in Sydney this week. Click here to get Sheep Central story links sent to your email inbox.

Mr Merriman announced this morning that the WEP steering committee members have voted unanimously in favour of establishing the portal.

The decision will usher in a  ‘new age’ for growers and transactions, Mr Merriman said.

The Wool Exchange Portal would also address many of the issues recognised in the recent Wool Selling Systems Review.

In a media release issued this morning following the announcement, AWI said the decision followed “an exhaustive two-phase, two-year program of consultation, review and discussion of the wool selling system”.

The AWI Board has asked the WEP working group to return to the AWI Board in April 2017 with a costing, timing and business case model for funding approval of a Wool Exchange Portal.

The WEP-WG would now engage a number of different parties and industry groups and will require specialist skill sets and expertise in the area of digital exchange platform construction.

“We live in an age of extraordinary digital opportunities. As an organisation that seeks innovation we must explore and embrace the opportunities this offers on farm through Agri-Tech, off farm through new fabrics and processing, in our marketing and communication work,” AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said.

“The development of an online Wool Exchange Portal is a natural extension of this exciting era.”

Appointed by the Board of AWI, the WEP Working Group members and their relevant expertise include:

  • Will Wilson (Chairman): Digital Platform Transformation/Trade/Competition Creation
    Mark Rodda (Executive Officer): Broking/Exporting/processing
    John Roberts: AWI Representative
    Tony Flannery: Woolgrower – NSW
    Rob Lawrance: Woolgrower – VIC
    Ed Storey: Woolgrower – NSW
    Neil Jackson: Woolgrower – WA
    Steve Hill: Quantitive Exporter (Global Wool)
    Tim Marwedel: Qualitative Exporter (Schneider)
    Peita Piper: Change Management, Process & Communications. UBank (NAB’s subsidiary)
    Matt Tamplin: Logistics & Storage (CEO Australian Wool Handlers)

    Richard Davison/Kym Gunn: Landmark
    Dave Adamson/Simon Hogan: Elders
    Andrew Lindsay/Alastair Calvert: RuralCo




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  1. Peter Small, November 24, 2016

    Russell, I have refrained from commenting on recent developments with WEP. Originally I thought it best to remain silent, but you are such a great bloke, I am afraid you have drawn me to respond.
    The WEP working group appointed by AWI principally comprise two groups, those that represent various sectors of the trade — who don’t pay a 2 percent tax on their gross wool income to AWI — and those representing wool growers — who do.
    Obviously the principal interest of those representing the wool trade is to see that the proposal is as benign as possible, inflicting minimal damage on their business operations. As they do not pay a wool tax, efficient expenditure of wool growers hard-earned income is not a primary concern. While this should be a concern of the wool grower members, it is probably impossible for them to make such an assessment. That is, unless of course they have an intricate understanding of how wool is appraised by the buyer, batched into consignments, paid for, shipped and processed by a multitude of clients, in different countries, with differing processing requirements. I doubt for example that many wool growers would understand that wool of the same greasy measurement can process differently, to take just one example of what is an intricate sophisticated market.
    All this you won’t learn about Russell by attending “an AGM in a capital city”.
    I think its best if wool growers keep their hard eanrt income in their pocket and let wool selling system evolve through commercial competitive interests. One thing Graeme Samuels a member of the original review panel assured us was that there is plenty of competition at every point of the wool pipeline. For that at the very least wool growers should be thankful!

  2. Russell Coad, November 18, 2016

    So what do the ordinary wool growers funding this weird new scheme know about the benefits of this program? Are they going to be like mushrooms kept in the dark and fed a bit of bullshit occasionally! Why can’t ewe have some knowledge of what is being proposed? Not everyone has the luxury of being able to fund themselves to attend an AGM in a capital city to find out more.

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