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Wednesday, 12 February 1986
Page: 199


Senator WATSON(5.06) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I must commend the Australian Wool Corporation on another successful year and on both the production and content of its annual report of 1984-85. As a document, it is clear, concise and well presented and it is, indeed, indicative of an organisation that knows where it is going, that knows how to present and market its product and is consistent in its ability to make each year an improvement on the year before.

Wool production is the bright spot in a depressed rural environment. While other areas of rural production are being squeezed by a destructive combination of international practices and by excessive and unjustified costs that result from the present Government's policies, wool producers have managed to improve their productivity and profitability. Wool prices have risen by about 6 per cent. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics has predicted a further rise of about 4 1/2 per cent in 1986-87. In spite of increased production, wool sales have increased, and the Australian Wool Corporation's stockpile has decreased considerably. Furthermore, demand by textile mills is expected to remain high, at least for the foreseeable future.

The world-wide increase in wool sales and the upsurge in demand are the direct result of two interrelated factors: Increased international demand and excellent promotion and marketing by the International Wool Secretariat, in which Australia plays a significant role. Australian wool producers welcomed the 20 per cent devaluation, which enabled their product to become more competitive on international markets. Our Wool Corporation has played a significant part in increasing the demand for wool. Its achievements have been considerable because it has been open to change. The Corporation has been quick to meet changing patterns of demand and changing conditions in the textile manufacturing environment. The Wool Marketing Service, which made a profit in excess of $500,000 in 1984-85, continues to fulfil a useful purpose as a test bed for marketing innovations and improved practices.

The AWC is continually reviewing policies and is always prepared to progress one step further with research and development. In fact, other mostly unsuccessful marketing organisations in this country could learn a great deal from the management and operation of the Corporation. Instead of producing for the market, it is creating markets and creating demand, and it is successful because of it. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Australian Wool Corporation on the promotional materials that it has produced for use in schools and on its foresight in developing a position for an education officer, Ms Christine Reid. In so doing, it has increased demand on the home front, which is a high priority area, and the materials which have been produced are excellent.

Its latest educational publication, `The Australian Wool Industry', is now available in multiple copies for schools and I hope that schools throughout the community avail themselves of these materials.

In the report the Corporation expresses its concern about the drift of research funds, particularly in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, from rural industries to manufacturing and sunrise industries. The Corporation questions this approach, given the high levels of assistance already received by manufacturing industries, the strong international competition among sunrise industries and the high returns to Australia that have flowed from wool research. Perhaps the most important sentence in the report, and one which provides a sound reason for the success of the Wool Corporation wool promotion, says:

. . . the willing co-operation of all sectors of the wool and associated industries, together with research and test organisations . . . has been a feature of the achievement to date, in Australia and many overseas countries.

I commend the report to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.