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Merino underwear Wundies creators get Qld grant boost

Sheep Central, December 2, 2019

Merino Country Australia owners, Malcolm Pain and Kerrie Richards, left, with Queensland MP Mick De Brenni admire some Wundies while machinists Faye and Kym work on.

QUEENSLAND woollen garment manufacturer and Wundies creator Merino Country Australia plans to undertake early stage processing in the state with the help of a $209,200 grant.

MCA chief executive officer and former wool grower Kerrie Richards said the aim was to be the first Queensland company to process raw Merino fleece into garments in the state.

The Shailer Park business south of Brisbane also hopes to replicate a micro-processing system nationwide with the help of Federal Government assistance.

Ms Richards said the development could help sustain and build the Queensland Merino flock. Merino Country Australia is the only Queensland company to take Queensland wool through to the end garment.

“We will have the potential to process wool locally, meaning we can make garments fully traceable back to the farm, further increasing the quality of our fabric and garments,” Ms Richards said.

“We can’t keep going the industry’s been going , it’s not sustainable and its’ not sustainable for us at the other end sending the wool right around the world to bring it back here and do what we are doing.”

Merino Country Australia is on top in underwear

Merino Country Australia CEO Kerrie Richards

Merino Country Australia is famed for its pure wool lycra-free Wundies underwear and will upgrade it equipment after gaining funding through the Palaszczuk Government’s $46 million Made in Queensland (MIQ) grants program.

“Our best-selling product is our mens basic Wundies briefs, which we sell in boxes right around the world,” Ms Richards said.

Ms Richards said the grant will enable the business to set up some small scale or micron raw wool cleaning rather than water-based scouring. The company currently sends Queensland wool for processing overseas or buys finished yarn for its products.

Member for Springwood Mick de Brenni, who worked for seven years in the clothing industry before entering parliament, said he was especially proud of the Palaszczuk Government’s support for Merino Country Australia to help expand their manufacturing here in Queensland.

“To flourish in the global marketplace, Australian clothing and textile manufacturers need two things: a commitment to innovation and the backing of their government and community,” he said.

“The $209,200 grant will see this local business flourish, with the money to be used to invest in machinery to onshore the cleaning and processing of their own locally-sourced wool in Queensland.

“This will allow the business to integrate their textile and clothing businesses, making them more productive, reducing operational costs and slashing carbon emissions from transporting raw materials overseas, Mr de Brenni said.

“Existing staff will be given specialised training for the new advanced manufacturing machinery, while Merino Country anticipates it will create 33 new jobs over the next five years.

“Merino Country Australia have a proud 25-year history specialising in 100 percent Australian Merino wool products and the Palaszczuk Government is proud to support them as they enter an exciting new era of manufacturing.”

Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said MiQ is helping local manufacturers expand, upskill and employ.

“Since 2017 the Palaszczuk Government has supported around 75 projects across Queensland through MiQ.

“The grants, which are matched by the manufacturers, will help create more than 930 new jobs over the next five years and are expected to generate approximately $92 million in private sector investment,” Mr Dick said.

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