Three thousand jobs have been lost in three years in the nation's shearing sheds, as the sheep flock dwindled from 200 million to its current low of about 50 million. The Australian Wool Exchange's (AWEX) three-year wool classers registration system has attracted 3,000 fewer sheep industry specialists.
AWEX Chief Executive Officer Mark Graves said the fall was expected, and there are enough professionals to ensure consistent wool quality for international buyers.
"We have about 19,500 wool classers registered for 2010-2012," he said. "It is a drop down. For the previous three years, we had 22,000 wool classers registered. But given what has happened over the last three years, with droughts, difficult times in the wool industry, livestock industry, etc., we are fairly comfortable with the number. In fact, it is quite encouraging given the fall in (wool) production."
Reprinted in part from ABC Rural Australia