It is with very mixed emotions that I deliver to you the President’s report for the last 12 months. It has been a year of turmoil, that continues to evolve on a day by day basis as I write this report.

Our beloved wool industry continues to be smashed on all sides. To believe we survived drought, fires and floods, only to be confronted by COVID – 19 really put the icing on the cake. 2020 will long be remembered, for all the wrong reasons. Wool is basically totally discretionary spend and with the emergence of the pandemic, recovery looks a long way off unless a vaccine is discovered.

On a more positive note, NCWSBA has led the way in all the industry discussions and meetings, on the effects of COVID on the industry. The work done and the input by us as brokers, served the industry well at a time when strong leadership was needed.

No doubt the highlight of the year was the 100-year celebration of NCWSBA. The event organised by Chris was an outstanding success, resulting in $24,700 being raised for the Michael Manion Foundation. Over 200 people enjoyed a great night which bought the entire wool trade together at such a time of uncertainty.

At the time of writing, open-cry auctions in Victoria were under threat, with the industry looking at “zoom” and online sales as the future trading platforms for most of Australia’s greasy wool. This immediate threat has been averted but the risk remains. As technology improves, and the known way becomes challenged when paradigm shifts are forced upon us.

This is my final report as President of NCWBA. The 3 years I have been in this post have been rewarding, full of constant change and thrown up some of the largest challenges the industry has ever faced. The strong support I have received from the Board and the Vice President, Rowan Woods should be noted and documented. As always, the Board has lifted itself above the competitive nature of our roles, to benefit the greater good of the wool brokers of Australia. And while thinking about thank you’s. I must call out and especially thank the work done by our executive Director, Chris Wilcox. His tireless efforts, constant communication, and diligence in dealing with issues, makes the President’s role easier. Chris has recently announced he will retire from his role with NCWSBA in April 2021. His presence guidance and companionship will be sorely missed by the whole trade, not just the brokerage industry. I personally would like to wish Chris and Kathy all the best in retirement and we all look forward to staying in contact at industry functions.

During my career in the wool industry we have not ever faced a situation like the one, we find ourselves in. Retail spending has been all but eliminated, production has been decimated due to drought, livestock prices remain at all-time highs and other agricultural commodities threaten future production…..Whilst not an easy situation to manage or work in, the industry remains resilient and the wool brokers remain solid and are there ready to provide the essential services growers require in the handling and marketing of their wool clips.

In some strange way I am excited about the future for wool, and whilst production continues to be under threat, just maybe those that stay in for the long haul will reap some well-earned rewards.

Once again, my thanks to Chris, The Board and the extended membership for their support during my term. I leave NCWSBA in a position that will see the association grow and flourish in the future.

John Colley – President NCWSBA

27th August 2020

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