The Australian wool industry, against significant international backlash, will proceed to operate national wool auctions during the Easter recess, amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
Families all around the world are operating under new strict self-isolation policies and dealing with economic impacts affecting their household income and investments.
Consumer demand for non-essential wool products has vanished and seems unlikely to improve in the short to medium term.
Is it wise to place more supply pressure on our global wool markets as retail confidence evaporates?
Easter is the perfect opportunity to slow down, rest and digest what is happening to our world of wool.
Families will be reflecting and considering how best to navigate forward and comply with the new social distancing regulations.
As far back as the early 1990s there has never been an additional wool auction during Easter, Christmas or the mid-year recess period.
These periods provide designated holiday and international wool business development opportunities.
Yet in the face of extreme global uncertainty and erosion of wool price values, it is now decided to add an additional wool auction into the equation.
Our industry doggedly believes Easter is an opportunity to keep working and offer more wool onto the drowning market.
To make matters worse, this decision has been made without the support of major export buying and processing companies.
Numerous Chinese and European wool industry leaders are on record pleading to the Australian wool industry to either postpone or cancel auctions sales for up to three weeks over Easter.
This makes sense as our wool market needs relief from the ongoing financial pressure of poor sales and trading losses.
Some wool growers need to keep selling, so alternate platforms to trade wool outside of the open cry auction system are available.
Tender systems and electronic platforms are proven and effective trade tools for our industry.
These are sound alternatives to market wool during recess periods, and safer for our health as all parties can operate from their home office.
Our new social distancing laws are challenging us all, but we must find the safest way to move our industry forward.
The wool market needs to take a deep breath, reflect and digest what is happening and most importantly focus on the priority of our health.
This is the clear message we are receiving from our state and federal leaders.
Warmest gratitude at this time goes out to all the brave, selfless and tireless health and essential workers that continue to fight this pandemic on the front line.
They are the true heroes of our community and we are forever in their debt for their hard work and sacrifice.
Take care everyone and look after each other this Easter.