Complaints have been raised with the wool marketing body following incidents where bale stencils were not used by the people registered to stencils.
AWEX chief executive Mark Grave said there had been “one or two incidents” of this occurring, and that AWEX took complaints seriously.
“Our job is to investigate and follow that through, to find out whether it is a valid claim, or not,” Mr Grave said.
“If you are paying for a classer, you expect to get a classer who knows what they are doing.”
He said the complaints raised the concern as to whether the person classing the wool was the same person who had trained, registered and been assigned the stencil being used.
“Growers are very much aware wool is going through a good period and they want it classed properly, by trained and registered wool classers,” he said.
He said the practice was not widespread but AWEX wanted to ensure it wasn’t condoned.
“If left unchecked, it’s deemed to be acceptable, and that’s certainly not the case,” he said.
In most cases where someone was impersonating a classer they were untrained and may have stolen, or been given the stencil to use.
With the Australian wool industry worth an estimated $4 billion annually, Mr Grave said the misuse of the classer stencil undermined the wool classer registration scheme and threatened the integrity and reputation of the Australian wool industry.
“Actions such as this can destroy that hard earned reputation overnight,” he said.
“Our exporter and processor customers have confidence in how we prepare wool and in the integrity of our industry.
“These are serious issues and if a classer’s stencil has been used by another person there are criminal and civil consequences for those people...”
Wool prepared on farm by a registered wool classer was eligible for a P certificate, while wool prepared by other people was not.
The P certificate is highly sought after by exporters and processors.
Elders wool selling centres manager Simon Hogan said the company supported the policy of ensuring the integrity of certificates.
‘We’re not aware of any problems with our clips, or our client’s clips,” Mr Hogan said.
He said misuse of the stencils was “not doing the right thing by the industry”.
“It’s on a very small scale,” Mr Hogan said
“Most people in the industry are doing the right thing.
“We want to ensure the credibility and integrity of the clip is maintained.”