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Episode 30 - Make Australia Make Again


We’ve all heard the saying coined in the 1950s that Australia “rode on the sheep’s back”. Many in the industry now argue the economic ride is over. The answer, they say, is to take back control of the wool handling process from fleece to fabric. Currently, more than 80 per cent of the nation’s greasy wool is exported to China for processing. Now, slowdowns at mills overseas due to COVID may have opened the door to a more local approach. For consumers – those 100% Australian Merino Wool labels on your clothes would mean exactly that. Queensland Wool Processors or QWool seeks to transform the industry with an end-to-end processing plant in Blackall. Today we hear from QWool Chairman John Abbott. As well as, fourth-generation wool grower and local Mayor, Andrew Martin.

  • We first chat with John Abbott, QWool Chairman and hear where his love of the country began.

  • QWool is an idea to bring wool processing back to Australia and John shares how it can be achieved.

  • The challenges in starting a local wool mill, both logistically and practically.

  • How the project is tracking and the investment and planning required for a project of this scale.

  • The shift away from synthetic fibres and the consumer’s desire for traceability in their materials.

  • How John is focusing on maintaining the regional connection which, is his passion.

  • John introduces Andrew Martin, Mayor and 4th generation wool farmer.

  • Andrew discusses the impact the wool mill will have for the community including creating 270 jobs.

  • The environmental impacts of using natural wool and the sustainable processes the wool mill will guarantee.

  • The profit margins on wool here in Australia.

  • What Andrew loves most about the country and the advantages of this lifestyle.

  • The most unexpected part of this project and the advancements in technology.

  • The most common misconception of life on the land.

  • The future for QWool.

We hope to see you back on the road soon, to learn more about how Australia grows on the next episode of Australian Farmers with Angie Asimus.

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