AUSTRALIA’S leading wool industry bodies have supported 100 percent adoption of the National Wool Declaration but collectively stepped back from applying to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to make it mandatory.
Following the latest NWD review in October 2023, AWEX said it would progress its investigation into making an application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to make the NWD mandatory.
Last week an AWEX media release from AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said AWEX’s Industry Consultative Committee had consulted with industry associations seeking feedback on whether there is support to investigate an application to the ACCC to make the NWD a condition of sale.
AWEX’s ICC is chaired by Russell Pattinson, with representatives from the Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors, WoolProducers Australia, the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia, the Inland Wool Brokers Association and the Private Treaty Wool Merchants Of Australia. AWEX is the ICC secretariat and a non-voting member.
Although there was unanimous support on the ICC to increase NWD adoption to 100pc, “the mechanism to do so was less clear”, the AWEX release said.
AWEX said the ICC considered whether there was support for 100pc adoption and implementation of the NWD and should the NWD be introduced as a condition of sale through each seller’s terms of sale.
AWEX said the feedback from the associations indicated that there are a number of issues to be addressed to achieve the desired outcome of 100pc adoption of the NWD, including:
- Ensuring that the quality of the data is maintained and not impact the confidence and trust in the NWD,
- Addressing a potential increase in administration required to drive adoption, and
- A communication strategy and plan to create greater understanding of the benefits of completing the NWD.
Mr Grave said the NWD was introduced in 2008 and over the past 16 years the grower declaration has risen to 74pc.
“It is the next 26pc we are looking to capture for Australia to maintain the confidence and trust of brokers, exporters, processors and beyond,” he said.
“Exporters, processors and brands have clearly told us that they value and have confidence in the NWD and that 100pc adoption of the NWD is critical.
“Wool growers need to be aware of this feedback from our customers.”
AWEX said the ICC recognised that data fields within the NWD, specifically Property Identification Code and signature with each clip, are of the highest priority for not only the NWD-IP, but increasingly for wool traceability, especially in the event of an exotic animal disease outbreak.
AWEX said it will meet with industry associations over the coming weeks to work through the issues raised and plan the next steps.
Mr Grave said an application is yet to be made to the ACCC on the NWD.
“However, in our discussions with them they have recommended that before making an application we address any concerns industry may have about completing the NWD and clearly outline the benefit 100pc completion will bring to the industry.”
Mr Grave said it is important that the industry address any gaps including:
How do we declare mulesing status where sheep have been purchased and the AA status is unknown?
Does the 100pc adoption of the NWD apply to just farm clip lots or also interlots and/or bulk class lots?, and
As with any program, the practicalities of addressing non-compliance must be transparent and equitable.
“The key to the NWD is the quality of data and for those that have never completed an NWD it requires a communication strategy to support them.
“It is important that the declaration of mulesing status is correct,” he said.
“We will continue working with all sectors to address these issues.”
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