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AWI gets on with business after Senate hearing
21
Oct '08
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Chairman, Brian van Rooyen has welcomed the opportunity to give evidence before the Senate Estimates Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport and says the company is hard at work getting on with the business of increasing demand for Australian wool.

Mr van Rooyen said while the Senate hearing was an opportunity to put to rest some misconceptions about AWI it was also a chance to shine a light for Senators on the important marketing and research and development work being undertaken by AWI.

"It was important for the Senators to hear how the woolgrowers' levies were being invested in projects to increase demand and reduce costs which is all about looking after woolgrowers' interests," Mr van Rooyen said.

"I take very seriously the role of Chairman of this woolgrower company and the need for it to target research which solves problems of significant cost on woolgrowers' properties but more importantly to increase the price of wool so woolgrowers can continue to operate into the future.

"As a company which receives Government money for research and development it is important that we participate in the Senate Estimates process.

"I expected some of the questioning from certain Senators to be robust and I welcomed the opportunity to set the record straight," Mr van Rooyen said.

"I reminded the Senators not to play into the hands of animal rights activists by criticising our important research into mulesing alternatives."

"I was pleased to be able to tell Senators about the developments to find a viable non surgical prevention to flystrike. I believe we are well on the way to overcoming the mulesing issue," he said.

"Just last week we announced that Leader Products would produce the anti-flystrike clips which AWI developed and would have them in the marketplace in time for the 2009 lamb marking season.

"The Primary Industry and Resources Department of South Australia's Animal Ethics Committee has approved the next round of trials of the intradermals known as FSP 1 and FSP 2 which is great news for wool growers with the December 2010 deadline for the phasing out of mulesing still more than two years away.

"It means that woolgrowers are going to have a choice of options when we get to the lamb marking season after the end of 2010.

"This is not only great news for wool growers but also for the entire industry. I'm sure the Senators joined me in hoping for a continuation of positive results in the South Australian trials."

He said he also welcomed the chance to inform Senators of the considerable strides AWI has taken since it purchased The Woolmark Company a little more than 12 months ago.

"In particular the launching of our two new brands, Australian Merino and Superior Merino, and the commencement of a $120 million global marketing push have been developed professionally and I expect them to help grow demand for Australian wool."

"We are growing this demand by establishing offices in strategically important locations around the world so that our professionals can liaise face to face with the 200 most significant retailers and brands who purchase Australian wool."

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

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