Industry-wide reform is needed to create an effective traceability system for Australia's sheep and wool sector, a newly released report says.
WoolProducers Australia released the final report of the Commonwealth-funded project on Tuesday, with the document outlining 14 recommendations, eight of which are deemed top priorities.
The report, which was prepared by Agsecure, Poimena Analysis and David Marland Consulting was published following an industry-wide briefing conducted by WoolProducers on Monday.
The priority recommendations include requiring a Property Identification Code and a National Wool Declaration for all movement of consignments of wool, fast tracking the rollout of AWEX individual bale identification and establishing a digital database for data about wool's movement and its source.
The remaining recommendations include further measures to finetune source identification, product identification, recording movement and improving engagement.
The need to develop a cost-sharing agreement between the wool industry and government and a comprehensive implementation plan and to commission the development of a framework and analysis of the regulatory impact of implementing several recommendations has also been flagged by report writers.
The project, which began in September 2020, has seen the consultants review existing traceability systems used throughout wool and livestock supply chains, identifying gaps.
The final report addresses goals of mitigating biosecurity risk, providing provenance assurance to markets and streamlining product and information flow
Over the course of the project 105 people from 65 organisations were interviewed to ensure that the recommendations were fit for purpose.
WoolProducers general manager Adam Dawes said the independent recommendations have been made in the interests of establishing a fit-for-purpose traceability system to meet both the biosecurity and provenance requirements of our industry.
"WoolProducers are aware that if this is to be a success that all industry organisations, including service providers must make changes to how they are currently doing business to implement this traceability system," he said.
"We will work with all industry bodies to facilitate these changes but make it clear that it is our expectation that these organisations enter these discussions with an open mind".
"The reality is that we as an industry must have an effective traceability system for both commercial and regulatory reasons, if we are not proactive in this space, either government or third-parties, such as QA providers will set the agenda for us which may result in additional costs and a system that is fit for their purposes, not ours."
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