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Forrest calls for wool industry leadership.

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John Forrest MP

Federal Member for Mallee



13 NOVEMBER 1998

Federal Member for Mallee, John Forrest MP, has called for wool industry leadership in response to Government plans to privatise the woo l stockpile. 


Speaking in Parliament earlier this week in support of the Wool International Amendment Bill 1998, Mr Forrest said he hoped this legislation would ignite, for the wool industry, a focus on the things it needs to do to rehabilitate itself. 


"It has been somewhat amazing for me to find how difficult it is to get once voice out of the wool industry. 


"The difficulty the industry has in expressing itself with a single and determined voice never ceases to amaze me," he said. 


Mr Forrest said that he was disappointed about plans to move a motion of no confidence in the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation at the Organisation's Annual General Meeting later this month. 


"At the same time, I think it indicates some of the frustration that growers feel, that their wool promotion organisations, their marketing associations, that are supposed to be acting on their behalf, are not representing their interests," he said. 


"We need to find a way to put growers directly in contact with their marketplace which has been a real failure of the wool industry to date. 


"Once the commodity has left the farm gate, the producer has no further connection with it and therefore no way of knowing whether or not they are producing the right product," said Mr Forrest. 


Mr Forrest said those industries that were currently succeeding in Australia, particularly those in the Wimmera Mallee, were those who are aware of the need to maintain a strong relationship with their consumers. 


"It is my hope that the legislation currently before Parliament will serve as the launch pad for the public debate on the need for a greater industry focus. 


"The Bill itself is a small part of what is needed for the Australian Wool Industry and is by no means a cure to the current problems it is facing. 


It is a short term measure to shore up the industry and provide an opportunity for it to determine its own way forward," he said 


"I look forward to a vibrant and innovative wool industry that has strong leadership and a vision to meet the challenges of the next