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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4578

Mr Grassby asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   How much of the Australian wool clip was processed in Australia in each of the last 10 years.

(2)   What are the categories of processing.

(3)   Is it a fact that fifty bales .of wool daily provide a continuity of work for 2,000 textile workers. ...

(4)   What proportion of wool as against synthetics is used by the Australian textile industry.

(5)   Is Australia presently importing wool, other than carpel wool, from New Zealand,

(6)   What was the (a) quantity, and (b) value of these wool, imports last year and for this year to date.

(7)   Is New Zealand offering ISO days credit for wool sales.

(8)   Does this compare unfavourable with terms offered to Australian wool processors who are required to pay within IS days.

(9)   Is this the reason for the successful penetration of the Australian market by New Zealand wool.

Mr Sinclair - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (!) Because of appreciable time-lags between the production, sale and processing of wool, it is nol possible to establish accurately how much of the Australian wool clip in any given year is processed locally. A further difficulty is that statistics of wool used in processing do not distinguish between locally produced and imported wool. Some indication of the volume of locally produced wool which is processed in Australia can be gained, however, from mill consumption statistics adjusted fo rimports Estimates far the last 10 years are a> follows:

The average mill consumption of locally produced wool for the 10 year period was 65.0 clean, while the average total Australian wool production in the same period was 1,008.0 clean. - For the 10 year period, then, Australian mil) consumption of locally produced raw wool has been about 6.5 per cent of production. A proportion of the Australian mill consumption of raw wool is exported in the form of wool tops and - manufactured wool products.

(2)   The processing of greasy wool into finished consumer products involves a considerable number of steps and the processes employed vary according to the nature of the end product. The main processes used are scouring, carbonizing, carding, topmaking, spinning, weaving, knitting and feltmaking.

(3)   It is not possible to give a definite answer to this question. The number of textile workers which a- given quantity of wool will keep employed would depend on such factors as the number of processes which have to be performed (which vary according to the end product), the utilisation and efficiency of machinery and the extent to which wool is blended with other fibres.

(4)   The Commonwealth Statistician's most recent figures on mill consumption of synthetic fibres in Australia refer to the year 1967-68. In that year, usage of man-made fibres in the Australian textile industry was about 17.2m. lb. In the same year raw wool consumption in Australia (including imported wool) was about 72.4 clean weight.

(5)   and (6) Official import statistics do not provide a dissection of wool imports on a quality basis. Information available to the Department of Primary Industry indicates, however, that the bulk of wool imported from New Zealand is of types suitable for carpet manufacture, which are not grown locally. Small quantities of other types ' of wool not available in Australia or not produced in sufficient quantities are also imported for other end uses.

(7)   The terms of sale at New Zealand wool auctions require wool buyers to pay for their purchases wi.hin a 'prompt period' of 18 days. The period of 150 days mentioned in the question probably refers to the period for which the New Zealand banking system will provide postshipment finance to wool exporters. Australian banks also make available post-shipment finance to wool exporters of up to 180 days.

(8)   The "prompt period' for payment for wool purchases at Australian Wool auctions is 16 days. Like wool exporters, local wool processors have access to credit from Australian banks for the financing of their wool purchases.

(9)   As already stated, imports of New Zealand wool into Australia are of types which are not available in Australia or are not produced In sufficient quantities.

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