Vote 2.5pc on WoolPoll 2015 says Sports Shear Aust leader

Terry Sim, September 21, 2015
Sports Shear Australia chair Steph Brooker-Jones

Sports Shear Australia chair Steph Brooker-Jones

WOOLGROWERS should vote 2.5 percent in WoolPoll 2015 to continue the current level of shearer and wool handler training and competition, Sport Shear Australia chair Steph Brooker-Jones said today.

In the lead-up to the SSAA National Shearing and Wool Handling Championships on September 26 at Hamilton in Victoria, Ms Brooker-Jones said many wool growers didn’t realise the depth of what Australian Wool Innovation does, especially in shearer and wool handler training.

“I opened up my WoolPoll thing last night and sent my vote through, I read all the stuff in Beyond The Bale, so I know what has been going on during the year.

“From our point of view from Sports Shear Australia, I would encourage all woolgrowers to vote 2.5pc,” she said.

“They forget how important shearers and wool handlers are to the industry.”

Every farmer who has paid wool levies of $100 or more over the past three years is eligible to vote on one of five WoolPoll 2015 options – 3 percent, 2.5pc, 2pc, 1pc and 0pc. AWI is seeking continuation of the current 2pc levy, although some grower groups had sought a 1.5pc option before the poll opened.

The WoolPoll 2015 result will determine funding of wool research, development and marketing activities by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) over the next three years. A Deloitte review of AWI’s performance reported that the company invested $2.1 million in shearer and wool handler training from 2012-2013, representing a return of $2.60 on every dollar invested. Now, 60 percent of trained shearers report better productivity and 79pc improved shearing quality.

AWI funding shearer and wool handler development

AWI is funding the attendance of extra shearers and wool handlers at the national championships to attend to compete in ‘development’ classes, following a mentoring and training workshop on Friday September 25.

The developing shearers and wool handlers – in the novice, intermediate and senior classes — will be mentored by Australian team members at the workshops and at the national titles.

Sport Shear Australia, with the Hamilton Pastoral and Agricultural Society, is conducting the SSAA National Shearing and Wool Handling Championships at the Hamilton P & A Showgrounds. The SSAA championships were last held in Hamilton in 1996, the second year they were ever held.

Ms Brooker Jones said six states are sending their highest ranking shearers and wool handlers to compete for a place in the Australian team. Most states will also send selected novice, intermediate and senior wool handlers and shearers to experience the excitement of a national event, and give them the opportunity to be trained and mentored by the Australian team, along with Trainers from RIST, Shearing Contractors Association (SCAA) and AWI.

The top three shearers and three wool handlers from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia have won their places in the state teams by competing in events across regional Australia, mostly at rural country shows.

Current Australian team will be at Hamilton

Champion SA shearer Shannon Warnest. Picture: Shearing Sports NZ.

Champion SA shearer Shannon Warnest. Picture: Shearing Sports NZ.

Members of the current Australian team to compete at Hamilton include Daniel McIntyre, NSW (2015 Champion), Shannon Warnest, SA (twice World Champion and multiple Australian title holder), and Nathan Meaney, SA (Australian team member to the 2012 World Title).

Champion wool handler Sarah Moran. Picture: Shearing Sports NZ

Champion wool handler Sarah Moran. Picture: Shearing Sports NZ

Wool handlers Sarah Moran, from Ararat in Victoria, (twice Australian champion and World Team 2014) along with Tara Smith from SA will compete after their Trans Tasman victory in New Zealand earlier this year.

Australia’s world 2014 blade shearing title competitors, Australian champion John Dalla from SA and Ken French from Victoria will also compete at Hamilton.

Ms Brooker-Jones said an integral feature of the national championships will be the Trans-Tasman Test. Shearing Sports New Zealand has selected its top machine and blade shearers and wool handlers to compete.

The championship event program includes:

September 25, 8am-12pm, mentoring and training; 2pm, heats of novice shearing, wool handling and open blade heats.

September 26, 8am-2pm, development heats, open shearing and wool handling heats; 2-6pm, finals and Trans Tasman events.

Sport Shear Australia and the State Affiliates have instigated shearing and wool handling competitions since 1993. They are a part of Golden Shears World Council, who facilitates World Championships every 3 years.

Ms Brooker-Jones said the competitions encourage all levels of shearers and wool handlers to aspire to furthering the industry-based skills, which are required and recognised on a daily basis as part of their employment in the wool industry.


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  1. Peter Small, September 22, 2015

    Fiona, thank you for your response. It is very strange how woolgrowers allow the government to extract a statutory tax from their gross proceeds to fund activities that in any other part of the economy would be paid for from general revenue, which as we all know is principally from tax on profits, not gross income. The VFF for example seems quite happy about this state of affairs, as at their recent annual conference there was not one resolution about the demise of TAFE to which you refer. In fact, the VFF Livestock AGM only had two resolutions; one, a vote of no confidence in the president and the other, a resolution to make shearing an Olympic sport! Very strange, no debate about the Wool Selling Systems Review, no debate about the impending wool tax vote, no debate about electronic tagging of sheep, and so you could go on. No debate about the availability of Department of Agriculture livestock officers to write certificates for the movement of Victorian livestock interstate. Hamilton has a trainee who won’t be qualified to complete documentation until next April. In short, while woolgrowers are so stupid to keep on paying a statutory tax on their gross proceeds and our farmer organisations are so inept at prosecuting a case on their behalf, why should the Government bother funding TAFE or anything else for that matter for our industry? In the meantime, woolgrowers, many who are quite poor, with little likelihood of paying income tax, watch on while 2 percent of their gross income is deducted by the ATO before they even sight the return on their year’s hard work!

  2. Fiona Raleigh, September 21, 2015

    Peter Small – I’m not sure about the zero? Interesting to hear your opinion about AWI involvement in training. It’s a shame that the current state government has had such an impact on TAFE fees, making it difficult for shearers to access training. AWI has a perceived monopoly on training at the moment as a result. At least there is some form of training being offered. If growers don’t want to fund it, let’s get behind strengthening the training organisations.

  3. Peter Small, September 21, 2015

    Woolgrowers should vote for a zero wool tax. Of course, shed hand and shearer training is critical in our industry, but it should not be funded by AWI. In every other part of the Australian economy, education and training is paid for either by the state, the student, the employer or the employee. There is no other industry that imposes a statutory tax on gross proceeds!

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