9 Feb 2011

Exporters question wool co-operative ahead of share deadline

1:08 pm on 9 February 2011

Wool exporters say they are threatened by the prospect of a new farmer co-operative, even though they believe it will fail to get the farmer support it needs by next week.

Wool Exporters Council president John Dawson says exporters make no apology for asking some hard questions about the detail in the share offer from the proposed Wool Partners Co-operative.

The co-operative needs to raise at least $55 million by next Wednesday to start up and have farmers commit to supplying nearly half of the strong wool clip.

Wool Partners chair Jeff Grant says it has has been battling a very deliberate and sustained campaign by wool exporters, brokers and merchants who are threatened by the venture.

He says the opponents have offered nothing new in the debate and continue to regurgitate strategies that have failed the wool industry for the past 20 years.

Mr Dawson says there is bound to be a lot of finger pointing from those wanting to shift the blame in the event of the share offer failing.

He says exporters just want to make sure that wool growers have all the information they need before they make a decision on whether or not to invest.

Mr Dawson says the outlook for strong wool is very positive and current high prices are sustainable long-term.