Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Landline -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) of soul-searching going on and there is plenty Now the prize squeeze is on for our premium plonk. seemingly insatiable demand driven by the world's investment in new vineyards we were reporting on the surging It seems that it wasn't so long ago Welcome again to Landline. Hello. I'm Joanne Shoebridge. about farming against all odds. An inspiring yarn avocado grower called Stan Haman. And we'll introduce you to an left unpicked. and thousands of tonnes lousy returns for growers a serious grape glut, but in 2005 it means for celebration, would normally be cause top quality fruit A bumper harvest of at the wine industry. Today we're looking This program is captioned live.

between Brisbane and Melbourne. of an inland railway has resurrected the idea The federal government of the marketplace. as a result of the changing nature has gone up The capital cost of the plant water by late next year. which is scheduled to be supplying with the project, but the government will go ahead has blown out by $40 million, proposed desalination plant the cost of Perth's In Western Australia, but there are restrictions there. into China at the moment, all of which we're getting and grain products, for our wool, meat better access We would be pushing to gain for food and agricultural products. to meet China's growing demand who say they're well positioned by Australian farmers has been cautiously welcomed a free trade deal with China The prospect of to drop off the table. to allow agriculture It's not our intention That's hypothetical. in the final deal. to walk away if it is not included a categorical commitment and John Howard wouldn't give a categorical commitment and John Howard wouldn't give sticking point in the negotiations Agriculture is a possible between ourselves. that we should keep it as a secret with trade Progress has been so good $24 billion to Australia. that could eventually be worth on a free trade agreement for negotiations to start and gave the go-ahead met in Beijing this week and the Chinese President The Prime Minister between Australia and China. towards a free trade deal with the first steps and today we start with the news summary We begin as usual More from her a little later. from the Wool Mark Company. Brenda McGarn a premium for it? why then would they pay the benefits of the fibre, If they don't understand who don't know the benefits of wool. of young consumers because there is a whole generation to the end consumers, is to talk again and do differently One of the things we need to change about wool. of getting consumers excited again the challenging task She has just taken on marketing boss, Brenda McGahan. like former Coles Myer retail and hearing from speakers talking about the way ahead have been meeting in Hobart, in the wool world And this week, the big names our special report. Prue Adams has prepared is our $6 billion wine industry. among those with the big stake

has announced and the state government to combat the outbreak are about to be released disease-resistant oysters Hundreds of thousands of by QX disease. which has been devastated oyster industry to rescue the Hawkesbury River's a mission is on In New South Wales there is a real risk there. so I think you have to say of the most invasive pests, ranks them in the top 100 for Conservation of Nature The International Union an extreme risk to biodiversity. We found them to be in the state's south-east. and have started monitoring programs Authorities are taking no chances as pets in the 1960s and 1970s. originally brought into Australia the red-eared slider turtle, War has been declared on is also threatening native species. a pest of a much smaller kind Meanwhile in Queensland, the issue at the national level. and start to grapple with to look at what's going on It's about time we started are increasing impacts. and say increasing numbers two and two together It doesn't take a lot to put and spreading livestock diseases. driving native plants to extinction ruining fences, every year - to the pastoral industry of dollars damage Wild camels cause millions to control them immediately. if measures aren't taken within a few years will reach 1 million feral camel population that Australia's has been told A meeting in Alice Springs when we have a crisis in rainfall. They're cutting it at a time Murray Darling Basin Commission. have cut their funding to the New South Wales and Victoria extra money. are refusing to pour in River Murray states that two of the three is disappointed the federal government against drought, As the river struggles are ailing. along the River Murray that three quarters of the trees A survey has found could only be the next thing. monorail style - from Jakata I think a land bridge - these rail lines to Darwin. Why don't we just keep building no other priorities. we apparently have fabulously wealthy, This country is so I mean, we can keep building. That shouldn't be the limit. state scepticism. although there is a degree of the freight burden on highways, a new rail link would ease says Transport Minister John Anderson

We will be supplying product to And now to the growing pains traditionAnd now to the growing painsal products in Germany and the UK and France and Japan. in Australia's $6 billion wine industry. Thanks to an export boom and generous tax breaks, wine grapes have been the hottest investment in agriculture in recent years. But now the bubble has burst and the 2005 vintage could be oversupplied by as much as 200,000 tonnes. Many growers will being lucky to cover their cost of production, while others won't bother picking their fruit at all. (Band plays) How are you going? Every other year, the Barossa Valley celebrates its wine season with the Vintage Festival. In terms of quantity and quality, there is much to celebrate this year - not just in the Barossa, but in most of the wine regions of Australia. Another bumper crop, We will be supplying product And We will be supplying And now to the We will be And now to the growing We will And now to the growing We And now to the growing pains Welcome again to Landline. Hello. I'm Joanne Shoebridge. with good science but we believe that who hold fears, There are some people lease fees indefinitely. an assistance package waiving perhaps even a record is predicted. But while the barrels will certainly be rolling out, as an industry, it's not having a lot of fun. We're in a crisis now. This is the start of the crisis. Well, as growers we find it difficult to see any improvement in the near future. It's probably going to take a year or two to get out of this slump of this oversupply. So, yeah, it's going to be desperate times for the next couple of years. I think most growers in this region would say that we're moving into a crisis situation and unless we can arrest this downward spiral of price, we're going to see a continuing downward spiral in quality. The industry is going through the sort of growing pains you would expect from the massive growth that it had in the 1990s. Well, you can see here, Prue, that the fruit is overripe. It's starting to shrivel, we're losing weight. And I would anticipate the Valley this year will be losing between 3,000 and 4,000 tonnes of shiraz alone. This is Leo Pech's 55th vintage, but the harvesters are late this year. The winery these grapes are contracted to is simply overstretched. It doesn't have the capacity to take the fruit. For this long-time voice of Australian growers and his top-grade shiraz, it is a waiting game. The fruit will probably shrivel by a quarter of their weight by the time the winery calls for them. I want to assure you the pressure is not on one side - the pressure is on both sides of the industry and this is something that's not always understood by all. Both are suffering at the present time. In a sense, though, Leo Pech is one of the luckier ones. Plenty of grape growers this season are simply taking off their crops to let them rot. The tonnes that we've put on the ground this morning represents about 6,000 bottles. Now, that's a contribution we think to reducing the oversupply next year. Within this region there is probably going to be between 15,000-20,000 tonnes that will be left on the vine and we would urge growers to think carefully about whether or not they can afford to do it, because it is a very meaningful contribution to reducing the oversupply. Chris Byrne is a grower and he is also an outspoken representative of Riverland grape growers. This is his protest at what he calls the pitiful prices being offered for grapes this year. He could have found a home for his petit verdeaux, but with the best offer at just $300 a tonne, which is less than the cost of production, he has opted to not add to this year's disastrous grape glut. Chris, what's it like to see your hard work end up in the dirt? It's very disappointing, Prue, very disappointing. But mind you, we are among the lucky growers that have sold most of our fruit. We're only knocking about 6 tonnes of petit verdeaux into the ground this morning, but the neighbour two down has got 150 tonnes of shiraz that he has to knock to the ground. He simply hasn't found a home for it. So it is very, very disappointing. Now, listen to that - chock-a-block full. That's one of the biggest problems facing the wineries and the grape growers alike. The wine and brandy corporation estimates there was more than 2 billion litres - that's 2 billion litres - left in winery tanks from last year's vintage. They've been called tank farms and what it mean is that the wineries have neither the capacity or sometimes even the desire to take all the grapes on offer this season. It is a problem for the industry. We knew after the 2004 vintage, which was a record, that we would have to grow exports enormously to be able to move all the product that was sitting in tanks. Exports grew reasonably well, but they didn't grow by anywhere as much as they needed to. Stephen Strachan heads up the Winemakers' Federation - the peak body representing almost 2,000 wineries in Australia. He admits there is a surplus of grapes this season and prices as low as $150 a tonne for the growers who don't have a contract with a winery are simply unsustainable. But he denies his organisation can take responsibility for the problem. If you look back at what grape prices were in about 1993, they effectively doubled in the five or six years from 1993. We saw, because of that doubling in grape prices, a massive injection in terms of vineyard plantings. We saw the area planted to vineyards in Australia increase by 40% over three years. We took 150 years to grow to about 75,000 hectares and another three years to increase that by 50%. From an industry perspective, we just couldn't cope with that sort of supply coming on we just couldn't cope with that sort of supply coming on and we're seeing that coming through now. GUITAR STRUMS Much of the rapid expansion throughout the wine regions was led in no small part by federal government tax incentives and they were only removed late last year. While the frenzied planting has slowed, it will be at least another couple of years before the Australian grape-growing regions pick their biggest harvest. For Chris Byrne and other growers in Australia's largest grape-growing area, the Riverland, that's not good news. There is a general view in the industry that we've taken our eye off the ball in terms of selling. Any winemaker will agree that 60% of the work done to produce good wine is done in the vineyard. That is what we are set up to do and what we want to continue to do, and that's way of supporting this terrific national industry. Now, we are reliant upon others further up the chain who tend to be able to push all risk down to the bottom link, being the growers. The Australian wine industry is now worth more than $6 billion. More than 60% of what is produced in wineries around the country goes overseas. The UK is still the biggest consumer, quaffing around $960 million worth last year. The United States is coming in a close second, forking out just over $900 million. But the simple fact is the rise and rise of the Australian dollar has made it much more difficult to compete in the global marketplace against competitors like Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Europe. Well, we're going through a time of adjustment or re-adjustment. The dollar has played havoc with our capacity to retain our international competitiveness. Meet Brian McGuigan, Chief Executive of McGuigan Simeon Wines - now Australia's second largest publicly-listed wine company, after Southcorp. McGuigan Simeon, and the man in charge, have copped a lot of flak, particularly in their heartland along the Murray River. They came out with grape prices at the beginning of this vintage that growers say were up to 40% lower than last year's. There was a huge amount of criticism, and it's more than criticism - there is a lot of anger. Because whilst growers understand that wineries need to be prosperous in their own rights, the sort of prosperity that McGuigan Simeon have been enjoying for some 12 or 13 years in succession now is in stark contrast to what's happening in the lives of growers. Now, meet some of the men who grow the grapes for McGuigan Simeon. They say the low prices offered by the company have had a flow-on effect. I think Brian has - he can take some responsibility for forcing prices down. If you look - if he is only paying $500 for a tonne of fruit and everyone else is paying $700 or $800, he is getting an unfair advantage in the marketplace. So his competitors have to bring their prices down to what he is. Brian is probably the leader at the moment of forcing prices down, yes. People have not been able to sell their fruit. They've worked a year for nothing. How many do that? Growers? Not many others.

Always say we probably need to be good to get $500-plus a tonne. When it gets down there, we suffer desperately. Things don't get bought. The whole town and the economy around here will just, like, lay low, and just stop, basically, until something picks up on the horizon. And Steve Eckerman faces another problem. He is one of many growers contracted to McGuigans who have received a letter telling them that at the end of next year's vintage, they will be on their own. Their contract will be terminated. Well, I was a bit shocked actually, because, like, in previous years we've just sort of - as you come out of contract, sort of thing, they'd give you something. Brian McGuigan says growers had better brace themselves because he wants to tear up all contracts by 2008. It signals that we're changing the way that we do business and we're no longer prepared to make forecasts into the future about what volume of grapes we will take and the likely prices of those grapes. We are not a bank. We are not gamblers. We are representatives of our shareholders and we need to - whatever we do needs to be done at a profit and not at the expense of the grower, so therefore we would like to wipe the slate clean and say, "Well, it's going to be a different era between our selves and growers." The company has a massive 5,000 hectares of its own grapes, so rather than lock itself into purchasing from small growers, it can draw on its own supply, but then pick and choose the fruit it will take from outsiders. With the South Australian Riverland currently supplying around 90,000 tonnes to McGuigan Simeon and the Sunraisia district supplying more again, growers are concerned they will just be used to prop up the quality of McGuigan's broad-acre plantings. Growers, and there are some 1,200-odd in this region, who can grow high-quality fruit, are seeing it being diluted with the quality that's coming off these broad-acre vineyards and overall, again I say, we see this quality spiral downwards. Prue, I don't go along with that at all. I think that's a bit of envy and a bit of criticism that's being levelled at us. We know for all blocks what we're going to use them for and if our vito-culturalist doesn't get the quality to that level, well, then, he's asked to explain why. GENTLE MUSIC PLAYS This looming crisis couldn't have been a surprise for McGuigan's growers. Brian McGuigan has been warning for a while now that while white grapes will mostly find a home, there would be an oversupply of reds this year. For a winery which concentrates on producing bulk wine and bottles well under $10, his volumes are high and margins low. A fortnight ago, after years of strong profit growth, McGuigan Simeon wines was forced to warn the Australian Stock Exchange of a profit downgrade this financial year. The company's share price dived 19% overnight. We haven't said we're not going to make our profit. We've put out a warning that if the conditions that we are now seeing in terms of being able to sell our wine at the right price - not a matter of selling our wine, but selling it at the rice price. If those conditions pan out the way we've seen in the last couple of weeks, then our profit aspiration for '05 could be in some jeopardy. So we needed to tell the market that. The market didn't treat us kindly at all as a result of that. That's the way the market is. The share price has since risen a few cents, but Mr McGuigan admits the company he built up from a small Hunter Valley winery is vulnerable. What would it do to you personally if there was a hostile takeover of the company? I would not be happy. (laughs) I would be very disappointed. Is it a signal that your model of high-volume, low-price wine is not the way to go? No, I don't think so, because I think all Australian wine is under pressure right now. Indeed, that's why the middle area, the popular premium products are all under pressure, because a lot of the premium and super premium products have actually slipped in price down into the popular premium area. I think now that you will find that in the liquor stores sort of the premium price is $10 to $12. What he is referring to can be relayed by this diagram of roughly what the world drinks. At the top of the wine scale are the icon brands - your Penfolds Grange and Hill of Grace. They account for only 1% of the international market. Next down is the ultra-premium, which takes up about 5%. Next down is the ultra-premium, which takes up about 5%. Around 10% of the wine buffs like super premium, with the wholesale price of between AU$10-15 a bottle. Popular premium are quaffed up by an estimated 34% and despite what the wine snobs might like to think, it is the bulk market which accounts for a massive 50% of consumers - that's cask wine and cheaper bottles. About 94% of the international market is in those price points below $15 and the majority of that is below AU$10. And that's where most of our exports are growing very strongly still at the moment. Whereas if you look above AU$15, we've had no real growth since about 2001. So what's happening and what we think will happen is we will move through the oversupply relatively quickly in the sub-$10 price-point categories. But above $10 and certainly above $15, until we get some decent growth in exports. we're not going to move through that surplus and because of that, the warmer climates might be a year or two, maybe three years away from moving through it. The cooler climates or the high-cost producing regions - it is at least three or four years away before we move through the surplus. It is something that the operations manager at the world's biggest wine company agrees with. The area where I see a problem having emerged already is in some of the cool-climate areas of Australia. I'm thinking of Western Australia, I'm thinking about McClarenvale, the Clare Valley and some to the south-east of South Australia where cabernet sauvignon particularly has surpassed plantings almost indefinitely and will require structural changes for the balance for those varieties to come in. The US-based Constellation took over Hardys wine company two years ago. Most of its Australian production is based at Berri in South Australia. Hardys has a different approach to its competitors. It deals with a cooperative of 750 growers. Thanks, mate! Thanks, Seeya! Jim Caddie is in charge of Consolidated Co-op Wines or CCW. Jim Caddie is in charge of Consolidated Co-op Wines or CCW. And while growers are facing a testing time, at CCW, they have the security of a 15-year rolling contract with Hardys. This year they're fetching between $200 and $750 a tonne - about 20% more than the McGuigan's growers. It is a fairly good relationship. Obviously, there is always problems between them - when one is trying to set prices and the other one is receiving them. But pretty well, Hardys keep the growers informed through CCW and, of course, we keep our growers informed and there is probably a better understanding than most other wineries and grape growers. He believes this current downturn is a passing phase, part of the cycle reflected over the past few decades in the Australian wine industry. But Jim Caddie also believes Australia has been guilty of following the French path of telling consumers what they should drink rather than listening to what it is that they want to drink. Perhaps we are tending towards that a little bit now and saying, "We've got good products, so you should buy it." Whereas we've probably got to start looking around and saying, "What do you want and we will produce it for you." It really comes down to, I guess, fishing where the fish are, and if the global market above $15 is only 6%, then you've got to be aware of that and you've got to be looking at your production systems to deliver wine, yes, above $15, but in the large part below $15. SOOTHING MUSIC As the tank farms dotted across the wine regions of Australia continue to expand to store the wine that has not yet found a home, the short-term prospects for the wineries, and therefore the grape growers, is grim. If growers thought they were left hanging this year, all the signs are the pendulum is not going to swing back in their favour for some time yet. A long-time observer of the industry, Peter Simic from 'Winestate' magazine, believes this might be as good as it gets for the next couple of years. I think it's really a struggle for them and I do appreciate what they're going through, but I do think it's going to get worse, because you've got big companies who are coming out of contract in the next year or so, and, frankly, I don't think they're going to honour their contracts after that. I think they're going to use that opportunity to drop the prices even further. Have grape prices bottomed out, do you think, or will they go lower? Prue, I think they will go lower. At a 77 cent dollar I think we will be forced to be cheaper next year than we are this year. Grape growers have had some pretty good years over the last decade. Is it a case of not planning ahead for the future? Look, in some cases that probably is the case, but at the moment, our concern as the largest grower group in the country is that as an industry, we are not collaborating well enough together to develop a strategic plan for the future. So it could well be that some growers should have put more aside during the good years and unquestionably the industry has enjoyed a very good time, but many of these growers have done all of the things that were required of them, but they are in their third or fourth consecutive year of declining prices and eventually any reserve will run out. SAD MUSIC PLAYS Some growers will almost certainly be crushed by another year or two of low prices. The "for sale" signs are already going up. Wineries might go to the wall, too, but that's the up-and-down nature of this business and the long-term forecast is that for those who can hang in there, good times will return. I think there are two ways of looking at this. You can say, yes, there is an oversupply of grapes or you can say there is an under-marketing problem. I see vines will be pulled out to the extent it's very hard to know. Bearing in mind that you do not go under financially in one year. I'm one that firmly believes at the end of the day we will win our way through, but we may be a bit scarred and battered by the time that it's all over. You don't have to tell farmers about the fickleness of fate and the harsh realities of life on the land. To survive and thrive, you've got to be prepared to take the hard knocks, get up, dust yourself off and get on with it. And that's precisely what Queensland avocado grower Stan Hayman has done over the past four years after he was struck down with a devastating medical condition. COUNTRY-STYLE MUSIC PLAYS From the moment Stan Hayman left school, he wanted to work his own land. Between the '60s and mid-'80s, he owned and leased a couple of blocks where, as well as cutting timber and cane, he grew vegetables and fruit trees. After being wiped out by the '74 floods, he tried giving farming away to go building. But after about four years, I didn't really have a passion for it. It was a job. The red dirt got under me fingernails again and me toenails and I bought a small property in Coast Creek Road in Nambour. It was only 13 acres, but I grew zucchinis and beans, tomatoes there and gradually planted it up with avocados and custard apples. While in Nambour, Stan Hayman fell in love - with avocados - and he decided then all he wanted to do was grow avocados. Nambour wasn't right for this dream, but Amamoor, an hour north, was. It was good volcanic red soil, facing the right way with plenty of water and I gradually planted about 500 trees a year, and eventually, about six years ago, I was able to give away the small crops and the avocados have kept me going. So why this passion for avocados? Well, it's because they're hard to grow. There'd be a lot of backyarders that have stuck 'em in and there's be a lot of backyarders that have watched 'em die. Are you a good avocado grower? I'm the best. At 56 years old, Stan Hayman had what he'd always dreamed of - a profitable avocado farm. Then he got sick. It all started with a tiny little scratch when I was chasing cows on me shin down there. Only the size of your fingernail. And it turned into a tiny little ulcer and maybe two months later, wouldn't heal. And then it gradually got worse and worse, until I was half-paralysed by the time I got to hospital. And it was an infection in my blood that built a nest inside my spinal cord and paralysed me. Caused an epidural abscess and that crushed his spine. If they hadn't removed the abscess, he would be dead. So they had to actually take that out. Did you nearly die? Well, I had the last rites, so I must have been close. According to the spinal unit, one in every 250,000 spinal patients become paraplegics or quadriplegics through that particular incident. What was it like when you realised that you were paralysed? Yeah, wasn't a nice feeling. It was...yeah, a bit earth-shattering. Stan Hayman was in hospital for five months. And his family thought when he came home, the property would have to be sold. He, though, had other ideas. For the first month after the operation, I didn't really care whether I lived or died. I was very sick. But probably a month after the operation, I started getting my act together and stopped feeling sorry for myself and started thinking of ways that I could carry on what I liked best in life, was farming. He just said, "If I can't have legs, I'll have wheels." And he started with that particular attitude. It was an attitude that didn't surprise close friend Tom Craig. No, it didn't surprise me at all and I think I've said more than once, I would've been disappointed in Stan, knowin' what he's capable of and what he's inclined to do, if he hadn't got up and got going. Paul Thompson has been Stan Hayman's accountant for 20 years. I thought if he possibly could, he would go on, because I thought if he didn't go on, HE wouldn't go on, if you know what I mean. I just think Stan's so wedded to farming, to work, to avocados, I mean it' is his life, you know, not just part of his life. And I couldn't imagine him doing anything else. Stan Hayman solved his mobility problem with a ride-on mower. STAN HAYMAN: Nearly threw me off in the first 10 minutes of it. Yeah, I was out mowin' grass half an hour after I come back from hospital. The garage is rigged up so an unassisted wheelchair-to-mower transfer is possible. Carrie Bunter believes her dad's a better farmer now because he sees his 5,500 trees in a different way. Because on a tractor, he would sort of drive through and sort of see the top of them. Now, he...he can actually get in underneath, he can look at the fruit, he can look at what's happening you know, with the soil, the fertiliser, the mulch, so it's quite ironic, but the farm itself is, you know, doing better because he's actually in a wheelchair. Rippin' a few off there, Cliff, eh? Yes, Stan. Goin' alright. No, they look good, mate, eh? Yeah, they're goin' through the grader alright, mate, yeah. Nice and clean this year. Yeah, they're very good. Alright, mate, well, might tip that bag out and go and call it a day, mate, do the water... Alright, then. Stan Hayman thought mobility would be his biggest challenge. But for paraplegics,

the other big challenge is caring for their paralysed bodies. And Mr Hayman learned this the hard way. A combination of nylon socks and the mower's vibrations gave him big blisters and an afternoon sitting on the mower's vinyl seat in the summer heat caused a shocking setback. A huge third-degree burn - 8 inches long by 3 inches wide, 19 days in Gympie Hospital, and attention by Blue Nurses for quite a while. But yeah, you learn some harsh lessons out there, because we can't move around like normal people do and so I've just had to put things into place to stop that happening again. While he can spray and mow with it, the mower's big drawback was that it couldn't take Stan where he wanted to be - into the tree tops. A cherry picker was modified to take a wheelchair and Mr Hayman is now able to prune and check for pests without anyone's help. CHERRY PICKER ENGINE WHIRRS The cherry picker and mower earn their keep, but his pride and joy is the van which is fitted out with a loo, shower, double bed, microwave and fridge. STAN HAYMAN: And there's an overhead gantry with an electric winch that I'll actually winch myself up and I can go backwards and forwards in the van, I can either go to bed or I can drop myself onto the loo. Mr Hayman starts most work days by wheeling himself into the garage, onto the ramp and into the van. The wheelchair click into the driver's position and using hand controls to accelerate and brake, Mr Hayman is mobile. As any disabled person would know, independence - you can't put a price on it. You cannot put a price on it. Despite the mower, cherry picker and van, Stan Hayman missed being on a tractor. What is it about farmers and their tractors? Just less trouble than women! REPORTER LAUGHS Last year, he bought a tractor with hand controls. Now, he can slash, rotary hoe, fertilise and spray. I have missed that. There's nothing like 78 horsepower between your legs. The tractor's arrival reminded him of his room-mates in the spinal ward. There was two fellas and a lady that had actually - had been - was broken high up in their backs from big round bales of hay falling off trucks on their heads. There was other farmers there that had succumbed - there was quite a lot of farmers in there, so there must be a lot of people out there that would like to get back on a tractor. Working out what modifications to make, finding the gear and then someone to do it has been a frustrating battle for Stan Hayman. But now that he has his four modified machines, he wants people to see them so they realise how much technology can help. He says so far, the only job technology can't help him with is picking. STAN HAYMAN: I think new technology, if I stay healthy enough, will be able to get me back out there picking, yes, yes. Are you amazed that you've worked out ways of doing so much? I'm amazed that a lot of it's worked, but no, I'm not amazed. Impossible isn't in my dictionary and there's always some challenge around the corner. Man invented the wheel and now we've got block and tackles and electric winches and gantries and all sorts of things, so if if you can't work out a way to move yourself from A to B, you're a dumb arse. Ray and Pam Lleyton run the macadamia farm next door. They're amazed that four years after being paralysed, their neighbour is still farming. I was waiting to see the for sale notice in the paper, because I couldn't imagine him being able to keep going with it the way it is - the way he is. But it's incredible and when we saw him first on his little Toro mower, it was...your heart lifted, because you thought "Wow, he's got legs" - or wheels. It's over my head, at any rate. I'd curl up and die, I think, because it's incredible, to do what he's doing. Paul Thompson says his client is a one-off. Over the full 20 years that I've known Stan, he's always been incredibly driven. He's had a dream, a passion to create this farm, and to do this and he's done it and he wasn't going to let anything stop him. I don't know how he did it, but he's done it! Stan Hayman acknowledges he couldn't have kept the farm going without his son Paul, who took over when he was in hospital, and he couldn't live on his own without daily help from his daughter. STAN HAYMAN: My daughter's good enough to come over and do my washin' for me and clean the house out, and that's me pet hates but apart from that, I'm quite comfortable. At times he does get depressed because obviously there's times when he thinks he'd like to be walking along the beach or he'd like to be able to just jump into a swimming pool, and swim again, but generally, I'm probably quite surprised at how positive he is, and, yeah, it's quite a tribute to him. Do you think that one day you might be able to walk again? Do you think that one day you might be able to walk again? I feel confident yes, yes. Will that be because your injury might fix itself or is that because you think technology and medical advancements...? I haven't had any improvement in 3.5 years, so I sort of don't hold a lot of hope that my injury will fix itself, but yeah, I'm hopin' technology will some day help me walk again, yep. You just can't change the past. You've gotta just put it completely out of your mind, like it's happened, it's no, "Why me?" and "Oh, God". You're there in the present - it's the present situation. Live for the day, enjoy the day, but keep your mind working to improve tomorrow, yes. And get off your butt and do things! Australian wool growers will be pinning their hopes for a turnaround in the fibre's fortunes on a new global marketing initiative launched this week. And it can't come a moment too soon, judging by the frank assessment of wool's global prospects that was presented to a meeting of the International Wool Textile Organisation in Hobart. To put it bluntly, there's a crisis of confidence at just about every level of the industry - up to and including consumers. Brenda McGahan has recently taken over the top job at the Woolmark company so she has the unenviable task of convincing them to take a fresh look at the fabric. She joined me earlier from our studios in Hobart. One of the first things we need to do, Jo, is start talking to our end consumers again. We've been silent now for some five years at a time when our competitors have been particularly aggressive both in their product development - developing fabrics that imitate a lot of the properties that wool had once on its own - and also applying a very aggressive marketing campaign to do that. So, one of the things we need to change and do differently is to talk again to the end consumers, because there's a whole generation of young consumers who don't know the benefits of wool. And if they don't understand the benefits of the fibre, why, then, would they pay a premium for it? Were you prepared for the level of dysfunction and dissatisfaction you found in the industry when you took on the job? I've watched the wool industry with great interest for many years. I've been a customer - as a retailer, I've been a customer of the Woolmark forecasting services for over 15 years, and as I say, a very interested observer in the industry. So I was aware that the industry had some challenges, and yes, all industries have their various opinions and things, but I think there's more that unites the industry than there is that divides it. In the conference here in Hobart this week, one of the things that is so exciting to see is a tremendous passion - everybody in the wool industry knows a tremendous amount about their aspect of the industry, and is really passionate about it and I think from that passion, good things can come, because there's certainly a mood for change. Italian wool spinner Lawrence Modiano fired a harsh salvo at Woolmark at the conference. He said it was 'fat and bloated' and wasted 'millions of dollars of growers' money'. Do growers have the confidence to know now that their levies are going to be well spent? That letter was a very passioned plea to the industry to again commence marketing to the end consumer, and it in fact has been a rallying point for the conference here in Hobart as many in the industry feel that same need. We have, at the conference, spinners and weavers and processors from all over the world, as well as wool growers from the Australian and the Tasmanian markets, and there's now building... a building body of opinion that we need to again market to the end consumer, to change perceptions that people have of wool as an old-fashioned fibre, and that we need to talk to the younger generation to reposition wool as cool, with a new image. Apart from the perception issue, there've been structural problems with the industry. Obviously you're moving towards restoring that with the merger of Australian Wool Innovation and the Woolmark company. Exactly what's that going to achieve? One of the fabulous things, the opportunity that this announcement gives us is to have one voice and speak as one voice, and unify our resources around the challenge we face. We've faced declining market share for many years now and I think one organisation and one voice to the end consumer will enable us to tell our message in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Wool production has halved over the past 15 years and growers have been voting with their feet in many cases. It's imperative that you win back the confidence of growers, isn't it? It certainly is, Jo, and one of the strategies that I've recommended to the conference here in Hobart is that we do as other businesses do and take a test-and-learn approach. No business launches into a new strategy or a renewal strategy without testing some of the fundamental principles, so my recommendation is that we take a test market in a major apparel consuming market in Europe, the United States or in Asia, and test some of the principles that we want to apply, and then once we're confident and build the trust of the industry and the various participants in the wool industry, that we then roll that model out to generate more consumer demand. How much money will you be able to put behind that campaign to test-market and to drive new initiatives and to try and bring wool back to the forefront? Currently, the wool grower levy is principally used for research and development, and the surplus funds are invested in reserves. Right now, we don't spend all of that money on research and development, and there are significant reserves building, so there's been a call from a number of wool producers - Robert Peach as representative of the Wool Producers' Organisation has called for a case for some of those funds to be used to fund marketing. The second issue that we need to look at is how the entire industry contributes to that funding of marketing. And again, I think there's now a renewed feeling that there needs to be collaboration in that funding from the players around the world. Wool growers have been critical of the fact that a lot of their money has been used for R & D and hasn't actually been going into marketing the product. Are you really going to go back to growers and ask them for more money or are you going to divert some of that R & D funding into marketing? The chairman of Australian Wool Innovation, Ian McLachlan, yesterday announced that some funds would be diverted from the existing levy, there would be no increase in the levy but there would be some funds diverted from the existing levy to fund the initial test marketing, yes. Fantastic. So growers can look forward to, not increased levies, but having a better result in the long run for their sales? Yes. And Jo, as I think as in most industries, any investment that you make in research and development, where you're taking away barriers to demand, to consumers' demand, it's very wise to match that investment with some funds to tell consumers that the barriers to demand have now been removed, that the problems with any issues that might have been there in people's perception have now been changed, and that's, I think, the lovely story that needs to be told about wool. It's time we sold wool. Sold the story. Brenda McGaham, executive director of Woolmark, thank you for speaking to Landline. My pleasure. Kerry's off enjoying a well-earned spell, so you've got me with the markets for the next few weeks. We begin as usual with export cattle. Looking at the indicative live export prices quoted at Fremantle: And just on live exports of that other red meat, Warren Truss heads to the Middle East again this week for talks on the future of our $700 million live sheep trade. Looking at the international diary market: Turning to grains now, where firming prices generally reflect less-than-ideal sowing conditions across eastern Australia. Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures for May 2005: The May 2005 futures: Now to our wool report, in a week that started well enough with a couple of days of stable prices before dipping on Thursday. Sales this week will be in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle. Over 53,000 bales will be rostered for sale. That's the commodity report for the week ending Sunday 24 April. You know things are getting dry when it makes the mainstream press and this week there have been more reports on the critical state of water storages in our capital cities. Judging by this week's map, unless you're in the south-west of WA, not much joy anywhere else either. To the numbers: And that's where the rain's been falling over the past week. We're almost out of time but before we go, a word or two about what's on next week. It seems the Queensland government has stirred up quite a hornet's nest with the bee industry. It's threatening to throw bee hives out of state forests, which are being gazetted national parks. Bee keepers say the closures won't just affect their livelihood but the whole range of horticultural crops which rely on honey bee pollination. I can handle droughts, I can handle low commodity prices, I can handle disease but being stabbed in the back by my government and without consultation, without the chance of having a fair say and getting a balanced opinion on where my industry's heading makes a young person very, very bitter, very angry. Apiarists with a bee in their bonnet - one of our stories next week. That's it for today. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I'm Joanne Shoebridge. Until next time, goodbye from Landline. Captions by Captioning and Subtitling International.