Wool

​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, January 2018

These fact sheets provide current information about how the Australian Government is supporting the agriculture, fisheries and water sectors, and are available for download.

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Wool


Australia Australia is the world’s largest wool producer, accounting for around 20 per cent of global wool production (greasy basis— the raw material shorn from sheep). The value of Australian wool exports in 2015–16 is estimated to be around $2.6 billion.

Wool is produced in all Australian states and territories, except the Northern Territory. New South Wales produces the greatest volume of wool, followed by Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia. In 2015–16 an estimated 73 million sheep were shorn in Australia.

Building a stronger wool industry

The Australian Government is driving a more profitable, resilient and sustainable wool sector by:

  • providing funding through the Rural R&D for Profit program for a range of projects to improve productivity and profitability, including almost $9.2 million to investigate how dung beetles can provide benefits for sheep and cattle producers through improving soil quality, reducing nutrient run-off and reducing flies, pest and disease
  • providing dollar-for-dollar matching funds of $14 million in 2016–17 alongside the funding already invested by the sector through levies—for research and development (R&D) to advance the wool sector
  • improving wool producers’ access to seasonal workers by reducing the tax rate to 15 per cent for those on working holidays​
  • implementing a comprehensive foreign investment framework for agriculture to improve transparency and give the community and investors confidence in our foreign investment arrangements
  • introducing legislation to establish an ‘effects test’ in national competition law to protect small businesses from the impact of anti-competitive conduct by large, counterparty businesses
  • providing $25.8 million over 4 years to help manage the effects of pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas, and an additional $50 million for pest animals and weeds across Australia.

Key Facts

  • Wool-producing farms are located in every state and territory of Australia except the Northern Territory.
  • In 2015–16 and 2016–17 higher prices for wool contributed to strong increases in the cash receipts of Australian sheep industry farms.
  • In 2016–17 average farm cash income (cash operating surplus) of Australian sheep industry farms is estimated to have been the highest recorded since 1987–88.
  • 40% of world wool exports (clean basis—wool that has been washed after shearing) were from Australia in 2015–16.
  • Wool is Australia’s fourth-largest export commodity.
  • 74% of Australia’s wool exports, by value, were to China in 2015–16.

Export markets for wool, 2015–16

 

Further information

General inquiry 1800 900 090
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601 ​

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