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Is Minister Redman dropping the wool industry?
06
Oct '10
The Western Australian Farmers Federation Inc (WAFarmers) Wool Section is dismayed at Minister for Agriculture, Terry Redman's plan to shut down the State's successful Wool Garment Laboratory, especially at such a pivotal time for the industry.

The WAFarmers Wool Section understands that all contracts for the facility have been terminated and that funding will cease on December 31, 2010.

WAFarmers Wool Section President, Kim Henderson, believes that the Wool Garment Laboratory provides a unique and successful marketing tool for the State's wool producers and designers, and is the only such facility in Australia.

“The Wool Garment Laboratory has managed and coordinated the processing of yarn and fabric to the specifications required in Italy, has raised the awareness and uptake of WA superfine wool by designers, and has provided local designers access to world leading research.”

“The value and importance of the Laboratory has recently being highlighted in speeches by senior staff members of the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, while at the same time the Minister seems keen to abandon the program and industry.

The WAFarmers Wool Section wrote to the Minister on August 31, 2010 asking for the reasons behind his decision to cease funding, requesting that he undertakes a cost-benefit analysis of the facility, and consult with industry over its future use. Five weeks on, and the Minister has failed to respond.

“Telling people what to do may suit a teacher, but as a Minister, consultation with industry is essential to delivering the best outcome for all involved,” said Mr Henderson.

“The Wool Garment Laboratory staff have a very unique skill set, with one staff member being one of only a couple in Australia able to operate the Shima Seiki Wholegarment knitting system - a machine that is integral to the development of fine woollen garments.”

“These staff are at risk of being lost from the State, and indeed the country, if the Minister proceeds with shutting down the Wool Garment Laboratory.

“We hope this is not the Ministers intention or the reason behind his delayed response to the WAFarmers Wool Section's correspondence,” said Mr Henderson.

The Western Australian Farmers Federation Inc (WAFarmers)

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