New South Wales Farmers Association, Media Release, 24 November 2021
The state’s peak farming body will directly tackle the shearer shortage with the formation of the NSW Wool Technical Advisory Group (WoolTAG).
NSW Farmers Wool Committee Chair Helen Carrigan said fewer shearers were making their way to Australian sheds, and the NSW WoolTAG would address the challenge.
“Over the past 10 years the number of shearers has dropped by about 30 per cent,” Ms Carrigan said.
“Factors such as drought and border closures associated with COVID-19 have considerably heightened workforce challenges, and we will work on attracting, training, and retaining workers to ensure the wool industry’s ongoing success.
“WoolTAG will provide the space for a cross-industry forum to discuss and develop solutions to current workforce issues by bringing together supply chain expertise.”
Ms Carrigan said the NSW WoolTAG will also advocate for improved training courses for shearers and classers, who have steadily declined in numbers over the last decade.
“The group will review training programs available and relevant to the shearing industry and engage with training institutions to forecast future workforce requirements,” Ms Carrigan said.
“In the past, attempts to address this workforce issue have been siloed, but we need the NSW industry to work collaboratively.
“We hope this sets a new path for the NSW wool industry in tackling this growing issue.”
Ms Carrigan said other states had successfully established similar WoolTAG initiatives that delivered positive workforce outcomes.