Dig­i­tal di­vide in wool push

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

AUSTRALIAN Wool In­no­va­tion’s new dig­i­tal sell­ing sys­tem is set to go live from July next year de­spite con­cerns from wool bro­kers and buy­ers.

AWI un­veiled an in­for­ma­tion web­site on its Wool Ex­change Por­tal, re­named WoolQ, at its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Fri­day as the wool mar­ket lifted to a new record.

The East­ern Mar­ket In­di­ca­tor lifted 2 cents a kilo­gram to close the week at 1683c/kg clean fol­low­ing mas­sive gains in the past two weeks.

Ini­tial set-up costs for Wool Q are es­ti­mated at $3.6 mil­lion and build­ing be­gan in Septem­ber fol­low­ing ap­proval by the AWI board.

It came as WEP work­ing group chair­man Will Wil­son was un­suc­cess­ful in his bid for a place on the AWI board, while NSW wool bro­ker Don Mac­don­ald, who has ques­tioned the WEP pro­posal, earned a spot with the sec­ond­high­est num­ber of votes.

The WoolQ por­tal is de­signed to in­crease com­pe­ti­tion and trans­parency in wool sell­ing, with 92 per cent of the clip cur­rently sold through the open-cry sys­tem.

The por­tal will also al­low grow­ers to gather and an­a­lyse their data in one place and com­mu­ni­cate more eas­ily with other grow­ers, their bro­kers and po­ten­tially with buy­ers.

Con­cerns have been raised by Australian Wool Ex­change, which man­ages wool sales.

Its con­cerns fo­cus on pos­si­ble du­pli­ca­tion and stor­age of data.

Wool bro­ker and buyer as­so­ci­a­tions are yet to of­fer their full sup­port for the pro­ject.

Mr Mac­don­ald said while he was not against the on­line por­tal he had raised issues about its im­ple­men­ta­tion thus far.

“There’s been lit­tle col­lab­o­ra­tion with bro­kers and buy­ers,” he said.

“We still don’t fully know what the end re­sult is go­ing to be. There’s a lot of grey ar­eas, and you can’t sign off on grey ar­eas.”

AWI chief executive Stu­art McCul­lough said AWI re­ceived more than 110 pub­lic sub­mis­sions dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion for its 2014 wool-sell­ing sys­tem re­view, from which the WEP was born.

WoolPro­duc­ers Aus­tralia chief executive Jo Hall said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was sup­port­ive of the por­tal, but it had “mixed sup­port” in the sup­ply chain.

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