PEAK industry bodies have approved the first Australian Sheep Sustainability Framework and it will be launched in New South Wales this month.
The framework aims to benchmark the sustainability of Australian sheep industry — allowing producers and consumers to track the sector’s performance — and is hailed as a world-first.
The framework was approved last week by its initiators — Sheep Producers Australia and WoolProducers Australia – and it will be launched on Wednesday 21 April at Benangaroo Station, Jugiong, NSW.
It was developed by the Sheep Sustainability Steering Group, chaired by Professor in Livestock Systems, Bruce Allworth, in the Charles Sturt School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.
Professor Allworth said the framework incorporated the wool and sheep meat industries and has been developed following extensive stakeholder consultation and a review of what’s important to the industry.
“While it was a challenge to integrate the two often quite different perspectives, it was important that we delivered a single industry framework.
“In the end, people are concerned about the way we manage our sheep and look after the environment, whether or not they are producing wool or meat,” Professor Allworth said.
The framework has four pillars or themes: caring for our sheep; enhancing the environment and climate; looking after our people, our customers and our community; and ensuring a financially resilient industry.
Professor Allworth said about 60 different data points will be reported in the framework.
“The framework will allow the industry to better engage with everyone to show what they are achieving under these four themes.
“However, it is not just about what the industry is doing well, it is also about identifying areas for improvement,” he said.
“Members of the sheep industry are very proud of the way they look after their animals and are custodians of the land they manage, but there will be always room for improvement.
“The data provided in the framework will allow both the industry and consumers to track the performance of the Industry,” Prof. Allworth said.
“It is important that the figures are robust and seen as a reliable and independent assessment of the sheep industry’s performance.
“The steering group worked hard to make sure the issues that were important to the industry and its customers were identified and will be reported on.”
The development of the framework was supported by Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation.